Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bye-Bye Bill

Tropical Storm Bill captured by a NASA satellite as it makes landfall near Matagorda, TX June 16, 2015

As tropical systems go, Bill wasn't the worst Southeast Texas has seen, but it did leave a mark. If you've lived in the region for any length of time, you know the difference between a hurricane and a tropical storm. I describe it this way: a hurricane is like a traveling evangelist, it blows in - blows up and then blows out. A tropical storm is like the neighbor who comes over to ask for a cup of sugar but ends up an unwelcome dinner guest. As advertised, Bill was a rainmaker and as is the case with fickle tropical systems - some received more than others.

Here is a look at the rainfall totals estimated by radar from Bill:

The bullseyes of red and purple occurred far west of Houston in Wharton and Colorado counties where over 5" of rain fell. Similarly high amounts fell in Liberty, San Jacinto, Trinity and Polk counties. While not that much fell in Houston proper, there was enough to temporarily close some streets.

As the storm pinwheeled up into north Texas and Oklahoma, dumping flooding rains there as well. Even though the storm is exiting the state, the threat for more flooding isn't over. Runoff into the Brazos, Trinity and Colorado rivers could cause flooding later in the weekend. Additionally, there is a flood threat across the Ohio River Valley as Bill's remnants head there Friday and Saturday.

The second named storm of the season was also the second to make landfall. That hasn't happened since 2006. Hopefully, the forecast of El Nino disrupting the rest of the season will hold and residents of Texas will get a break.

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