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Heavy rains move out, but more expected

The heavy rains that strangled the morning commute are moving quickly out of the area, and the skies should be clearing soon, said Nick Hampshire, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

Hampshire said flooding was minimal this morning, with only a few nuisance floods reported. He said the rain will probably be out of the area in the next hour.

"We might see some sun by the afternoon," he said.

The sunny skies may not last long. Another storm might be headed this way and could hit Tarrant County overnight, Hampshire said.

As of now, it looks like it may land east of Tarrant County, but "if it does come in the same places, we could see some flash flooding," Hampshire said.

Hampshire said the weekend forecast looks promising, and residents will most likely see sunny skies Saturday and Sunday.

Clearing is expected by Friday morning's rush hour, according to Steve Fano, also a meteorologist in the Fort Worth office.

The line of thunderstorms dumped as much as 3 inches of rain on parts of North Texas early Thursday, with the hardest-hit areas appearing to be southern Tarrant and Denton County near Justin.

At least one fire was blamed on the storm.

A power outage canceled classes at Tarrant County College's Northwest Campus. No other damage was reported, and officials expected that evening classes would be held as scheduled.

In Southlake, lightning ignited a fire in the attic of a home in the 200 block of Creekway Bend. Firefighters were on the scene, and no injuries were reported in the fire, which was reported about 7:55 a.m.

Several police and fire officials reported heavy rains in Northeast Tarrant County and a few power lines down from the storms. Numerous power lines were down in Fort Worth as well, according to a fire department dispatcher.

Most of the activity was west of Dallas County.

In Tarrant County, one cell moved down U.S. 287, through south Arlington, south of Interstate 20. Reports said rain fell at the rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour. Justin recorded 2 to 3 inches of rain.

Minor accidents created problems on most freeways, including Loop 820 at I-30 and Texas 121 north of downtown Fort Worth.

The weather is apparently to blame for an overturned 18-wheeler that lost its load, tying up traffic on I-20 between the Parker County line and Markum Ranch Road.

Terry Grisham, a spokesman for the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department, said officials expected to close westbound lanes of I-20 in the area where the accident occurred once equipment arrived to upright the tractor-trailer.

Grisham said the 18-wheeler, loaded with big spools of twine, was traveling westbound along I-20 about 7 a.m. when it overturned.

"They had winds over 50 mph and hail at the time," Grisham said. "The wind is undoubtedly a factor in tipping the trailer."

Further west, firefighters were called at 6:30 a.m. to a tank battery fire, sparked by lightning, in the northeast part of Wise County.

The fire crews shut down Farm Roads 455 and 51 while they battled the blaze, said Sgt. Debbie Denny, Wise County sheriff's spokeswoman.

The fire was contained, and the roads were reopened by 8:30 a.m., Denny said.

But that wasn't the only weather trouble in Wise County.

High winds felled tree limbs and power lines in the southern portions of the county, particularly near the unincorporated communities of Boonesville and Salt Creek, Denny said.

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