Sudden rain storm sweeps through central Fort Worth

Posted Friday, Jul. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Thunder cracked and the clouds unleashed downpours late Thursday afternoon in central Fort Worth. But as welcome as it was, it did nothing to blunt the ongoing drought.

The storm began about 4:15 p.m. Winds estimated at 45 mph knocked down tree limbs and disabled traffic lights near downtown, the Police Department reported in posts on social media.

Tree limbs snapped in west Fort Worth along University Drive.

“Horizontal” winds also knocked a sound system offline, forcing the cancellation of Rockin’ the River, a weekly concert series at Panther Island Pavilion on Purcey Street downtown. Matt Oliver, a spokesman for the Trinity River Vision Authority, which sponsors the concerts Thursday nights through Aug. 8, said they will resume next week.

At 7:15 p.m., repair crews were responding to 6,000 power outages in Tarrant County, a spokeswoman for Oncor Electric Delivery said. Most of the damage was caused by wind, she said.

National Weather Service radar showed splotches of storm activity directly over downtown Fort Worth, areas to the west, and east and southeast of Dallas.

In Trinity Park and south into the Forest Park area, countless tree limbs were snapped off and some big oak trees were split. Trash cans and bus stop benches were upended.

But there were plenty of gaps between the storm areas.

Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and the weather service office in north Fort Worth didn’t get any rain. That means that the day will be officially marked as having zero precipitation.

The Thursday forecast had given only a 10 percent chance of precipitation, said Dan Huckaby, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Fort Worth.

But there was abundant moisture from the Gulf of Mexico that was stirred up by a “frontal boundary draped over Oklahoma.”

This system, which produced storms Wednesday in Oklahoma, “dipped into our area,” Huckaby said.

“Certainly, when temperatures are over 100 degrees, and as humid as we are, it doesn’t take much to get things going,” Huckaby said. The high temperature Thursday was 102.

“Any rain this time of year is good news,” Huckaby added. “But, certainly, this was not anything that would make a dent in the drought.”

Earlier Thursday, Huckaby told the Star-Telegram that the weather service did not expect enough rainfall this summer to ease the drought.

According to weather service data, the area has received only 15.30 inches of precipitation since Jan. 1, whereas the normal amount for this time is 21.02 inches.

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684

Twitter: @Bill_MillerST

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