Tropical Storm Bill Pounds Texas Coast | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Tropical Storm Bill Pounds Texas Coast



    The eastern half of Texas is preparing for renewed flooding as Tropical Storm Bill reached the state's Gulf Coast on Tuesday. (Published Tuesday, June 16, 2015)

    Tropical Storm Bill is pounding the Texas coast Tuesday 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.

    Water is the major concern, especially in Houston where thousands are still cleaning up after historic flooding just three weeks ago. Last month, flooding led to more than 30 deaths in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

    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.

    Forecasters are warning that the tropical storm could spawn tornadoes as well as expected flooding.

    "These bands can produce heavy rains, they can also produce isolated tornadoes," said Jeff Lidner with Harris County Flood Control.

    The National Weather Service says a flash flood watch has been extended from eastern Texas to central Illinois

    Six to eight inches of rain is expected across the Texas and some areas could see a foot or more.

    Many are still dealing with the effects of catastrophic flooding three weeks ago that swallowed neighborhoods and roadways leaving thousands stranded.

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

    "Everything flooded because I live in this area," said Houston resident Kay Daniels. "So I am not ready for it, but I want to be more prepared for it this time."

    The Houston Independent School District closed schools and offices as a precaution. 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.

    Emergency managers warn, these early rain bands are just the beginning of what could be another rough week in Texas.

    "We are not going to be out of the woods until the center of circulation gets off to our north and east and that won't be until sometime tomorrow," said Lidner.

    Emergency operations center in Houston opened Monday and will stay open around the clock until the storm and threat passes.

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