Tropical Depression Bill Affects Texas, 4 Other States

Tropical Storm Bill lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical depression, but is still expected to bring heavy rainfall to much of rain-weary Texas and beyond.

According to projections by the National Weather Service, average rainfall through noon Wednesday for portions of Texas will be 3 to 6 inches, but isolated areas could see up to 12 inches. Arkansas and Oklahoma could get up to 9 inches of rain in the coming days, and Missouri could get more than 7.


The center of the storm was expected to move northward just west of the Interstate 35 corridor, dropping 4 to 5 inches of rain on areas still cleaning up and recovering from Memorial Day weekend floods that left 14 dead and two missing along the Blanco River alone in Blanco and Hays counties.

Gov. Greg Abbott was expected to receive a briefing from state emergency officials Wednesday morning in Austin. Abbott ordered elevated activation of the Texas State Operations Center in Austin. The Texas SOC works with state and local jurisdictions to coordinate resources and provide help where it is needed.

On Monday, Abbott also approved the use of state resources staged for rapid deployment as needed to help local officials deal with the storm.

Meanwhile, in North Texas, where forecasts called for up to 12 inches of rain, Arlington residents were picking up sandbags being offered for free by city officials, and Dallas authorities were monitoring roadways for high water.

Oklahoma and Arkansas

A flash flood watch is in effect for most of eastern Oklahoma and part of northwest Arkansas as Tropical Depression Bill flows northward.

The National Weather Service predicts the storm could drop between 3 and 7 inches of rain across Oklahoma before it leaves the state Thursday. The flood watches will likely remain until Friday morning.

Forecaster Forrest Mitchell in Norman says there is also a marginal risk of weak tornadoes and thunderstorms. He says flash flooding on Wednesday and Thursday is the primary risk and warned drivers to steer clear of high water.

Mitchell says the threat of flooding will remain after the storm passes as water makes its way into rivers and lakes still swollen from May showers.


A 60-year-old eastern Missouri man has died after his car was swept off a road by high water.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says John P. Lyons, of Sullivan, died Tuesday evening on a road near Meramec State Park in Washington County, about 60 miles southwest of St. Louis.

The patrol says Lyons tried to drive through a flooded roadway when water forced his car off the road and the vehicle overturned. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch through Friday evening for a large swatch of eastern Missouri, including St. Louis and Washington counties. Severe thunderstorms are possible, with between 4 and 7 inches of rain forecast, adding to already high water levels in the region.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has declared an emergency throughout its Kansas City District because of high river levels and a rainy forecast in northwest Missouri.

The Level III emergency allows sponsors of levees to obtain technical assistance for damage to qualifying levees caused by the high water.

Judd Kneuvean, emergency management director for the Kansas City District, says the corps has delivered 43,000 sandbags for use in the Blue River Basin. The corps also sent 1,000 sandbags to Manhattan, Kansas.

Kneuvean told The St. Joseph News-Press ( ) that rivers throughout the district are "prime" for flooding after weeks of intermittent rains. He says part of the problem is water backing up into streams and rivers because of high waters in the Missouri River.


Flood warnings remain in effect around Illinois, and homes and businesses have been evacuated in at least one community.

The LaSalle County village of Utica ordered people to leave low-lying areas near the Illinois River. Some of the same areas experienced flooding in 2008 and 2013.

Mayor Matt Jereb says the order to leave by 10 p.m. Tuesday went out by recorded telephone messages. He says it mostly affected small businesses and there are only about a dozen residents there.

Portions of the Des Plaines, Fox and DuPage rivers in northern Illinois are also under flood warnings.

In the center of the state, warnings remain for the Little Wabash River near Clay City.

And in southern Illinois, the Big Muddy River near Murphysboro is also under a flood warning.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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