The Latest: Tropical Storm Bill weakens in Texas

AP News
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Posted: Jun 16, 2015 11:30 PM
The Latest: Tropical Storm Bill weakens in Texas

10 p.m. CDT

Tropical Storm Bill continues to weaken as it moves slowly inland across Texas.

A 10 p.m. Tuesday advisory from the National Hurricane Center said the storm's maximum sustained winds had decreased to 40 mph. The center was located about 45 miles north of Victoria, in South Texas, and the storm was moving north at about 12 mph.

A tropical storm warning had been trimmed to include only the stretch of Gulf Coast between Port O'Connor, Texas, and the western end of Galveston Island.

The statement said the storm's sustained winds were expected to fall below the tropical storm threshold of 38 mph early Wednesday, but it was still expected to bring 4 to 8 inches of rain with isolated amounts of up to 12 inches to eastern Texas and Oklahoma. A few weak tornadoes also were possible in eastern Texas early Wednesday.

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6 p.m. CDT

The National Weather Service says that even though Tropical Storm Bill has weakened after hitting the Texas mainland, it still could regain strength before the severe weather passes.

Most tropical storms gather power from the warm waters of the ocean and then weaken over land. But scientists say wet conditions from last month's heavy rainfall in Texas could sustain or strengthen a tropical storm over land in a phenomenon known as the "brown ocean" effect.

Meteorologist Victor Murphy of the National Weather Service in Fort Worth said Tuesday that the storm's weakening doesn't mean the "brown ocean" effect is no longer plausible. He said "it's still on the table" that the dynamic could occur as the storm moves further inland over Texas and Oklahoma.

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5:25 p.m. CDT

Rain-swollen rivers and streams have overflowed their banks in many places across northern Indiana. The floodwaters covered some low-lying roads and caused emergency crews to help some people who were stranded in their homes.

Several Wabash River tributaries were above flood stage Tuesday after heavy rain the day before in northern Indiana.

Chantel Henson of White County's emergency management office says crews helped about 20 people from homes in the community of Buffalo along the Tippecanoe River about 40 miles north of Lafayette.

A few dozen people also were evacuated from a mobile home park in the community of Zanesville near Fort Wayne after it was flooded from a nearby creek. High water from the St. Marys River flooded some homes in the northeastern Indiana city of Decatur.

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4:55 p.m. CDT

Tropical Storm Bill has begun to weaken as it moves deeper into Texas, but threats of severe flooding and possible tornadoes remain.

At 4 p.m. CDT, the National Hurricane Center narrowed its tropical storm warning to the coastline from Port Aransas to San Luis Pass, the inlet at the western end of Galveston Island. Sustained winds were near 50 mph, but forecasters expected the winds to weaken gradually and for the storm to become a tropical depression by Wednesday morning with sustained winds no higher than 38 mph.

Rain remains the greatest threat with total rainfall of 4-8 inches expected over the eastern halves of Texas and Oklahoma with up to 12 inches in isolated areas of eastern Texas. A few tornadoes may occur over parts of southeastern and east-central Texas and western Louisiana through early Wednesday.

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2:05 p.m. CDT

Rivers in Missouri continue to rise as heavy rain continues across much of the state.

The National Weather Service now projects that the Mississippi River will reach more than 5 feet above technical flood stage in St. Louis by Friday, and get to 8 feet above flood stage in Cape Girardeau on Monday.

The Missouri River is also high. It was nearly 6 ½ feet above flood stage on Tuesday in Hermann, flooding fields and low areas in and near the town.

Several roads were closed across northern and central Missouri, including a section of U.S. 59 in the far northwest corner of the state and a portion of Route 94 in St. Charles County.

Forecasters are calling for scattered thunderstorms, some heavy, through Friday.

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12:05 p.m. CDT

Tropical Storm Bill has made landfall on the Texas coast along Matagorda Island, northeast of Corpus Christi.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Tropical Storm Bill had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph Tuesday morning as it came ashore about 90 miles southwest of Houston.

Last month flooding led to more than 30 deaths in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Texas climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon says May was the wettest month on record for the state, with an average rainfall of nearly 9 inches.

The National Weather Service says average rainfall through Wednesday evening for portions of Texas will be 3 to 6 inches but there could be as much as 12 inches in some isolated areas.

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11:45 a.m. CDT

The National Weather Service says a flash flood watch has been extended from eastern Texas to central Illinois as Tropical Storm Bill is poised to make landfall along the Texas coast.

The weather service says Bill will move inland beginning Tuesday morning and bring heavy rain to much of Texas before moving northward into Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Flood warnings, meanwhile, have been issued for Indiana and portions of Kentucky and Ohio.

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11:10 a.m. CDT

Forecasters are warning that a tropical storm set to make landfall on the Texas coast could spawn tornadoes as well as expected flooding.

Meteorologist Stephen Corfidi with the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says the main threat from Tropical Storm Bill is flash flooding but that thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible along the storm's edge.

He says forecasters are fairly confident there will be a scattering of tornadoes in southeast Texas and western Louisiana on Tuesday. That threat will move northward into central Texas as the storm pushes inland.

Much of the area should receive up to 6 inches of rain but Corfidi says isolated spots could see up to a foot.

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10:15 a.m. CDT

Tropical Storm Bill is about to make landfall on the Texas coast with sustained winds of up to 60 mph and heavy rain that's expected to bring widespread flooding to a state experiencing one of its wettest springs on record.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Tropical Storm Bill will come ashore Tuesday morning in the area of Matagorda County, about 90 miles southwest of Houston.

Residents have been asked to evacuate homes in low-lying areas coastal areas, schools in the Houston region are closed and people have been buying up bottled water and grocery staples ahead of Bill's arrival.

The National Weather Service says average rainfall for portions of Texas will be 3 to 6 inches but there could be as much as 12 inches in some areas near Austin.

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8:05 a.m. CDT

The Houston Independent School District is closing schools and offices as a precaution as Texas prepares for Tropical Storm Bill to make landfall.

District officials say heavy rain could make driving dangerous on Tuesday afternoon. Schools and offices are expected to re-open at their regular times Wednesday.

Regular classes ended at the end of May but some Houston campuses have been running summer school classes since early June.

Tropical Storm Bill is expected to make landfall on the east coast between Baffin Bay, south of Corpus Christi, and High Island, up the coast from Galveston by Tuesday morning. The storm is expected to then move inland over the south-central part of the state.

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3:50 a.m. CDT

The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Bill will probably not become stronger before it makes landfall in Texas.

The storm's maximum sustained winds remain near 50 mph and Bill is expected to weaken as its center moves inland on Tuesday.

The tropical storm is centered about 55 miles southeast of Port O'Connor, Texas, and is moving northwest at almost 13 mph.

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1:30 a.m. CDT

Tropical Storm Bill is expected to make landfall in Texas by morning then move inland over the south-central part of the state.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said early Tuesday that Bill was centered about 95 miles southeast of Port O'Connor, Texas, and about 120 miles south-southwest of Galveston, Texas. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast of Texas from Baffin Bay to High Island.

Bill had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and was moving northwest at about 13 mph.

The center says some slight strengthening is possible before landfall, after which Bill is expected to weaken.

The storm was expected to produce rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches over eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma. Western Louisiana and western Arkansas could see 2 to 4 inches.

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1 a.m. CDT

The eastern half of Texas is preparing for renewed flooding as Tropical Storm Bill approaches the Texas Gulf Coast.

The National Hurricane Center predicted the storm would make landfall Tuesday morning somewhere between Baffin Bay, south of Corpus Christi, and High Island, just up the coast from Galveston.

Galveston County officials already have directed voluntary evacuation of the low-lying Bolivar Peninsula, where Hurricane Ike wiped out most structures in 2008. School districts from Galveston to the Houston suburbs have canceled Tuesday's classes.

According to projections by the National Weather Service, parts of North Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma could get up to 9 inches of rain over the next five days, and Missouri could get more than 7.

The forecast follows historic rains and floods last month.