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Tropical storm wind watch issued for Metroplex

The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm wind watch from Saturday morning through Sunday morning for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The forecast includes sustained winds in the 35 mph to 45 mph range with gusts that could hit 50 mph in Dallas-Fort Worth as the remnants of Hurricane Ike pass over the area.

Ike is expected to make landfall about 1 a.m. Saturday near Galveston, according to the National Hurricane Center.

By Saturday evening, the storm is expected to weaken as it moves across the eastern side of North Texas.The storm's center is expected to pass east of the Metroplex, but sustained high winds and rainfall are still likely for Dallas-Fort Worth, along with power outages.

In Dallas-Fort Worth there could be 2 to 4 inches of rain, with areas east of the Metroplex getting even more.A flash flood watch has also been issued for those areas for Saturday and Sunday, and isolated tornadoes are possible.

Possible power outages

Officials with Oncor said the power outages will likely come from debris being thrown into power lines.

"If predictions hold true, damage resulting from Ike could be extensive," said Megan Wright, spokeswoman for Oncor Electric Delivery. "Whenever you have these high winds you can expect trees blowing into power lines, debris blowing into power lines ....

"And those things cause some extended power outages."

If that happens, it could be similar to spring-time storms, when entire neighborhoods go without electricity until repair crews restore power.

"Oncor is ready, taking necessary precautions for what may result," Wright said.

East of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, forecasters are calling for flooding and even higher wind gusts, with the possibility of isolated tornadoes.

PreparationsEvacuations aren't scheduled for any part of North Texas, though, said Tara Dudzik, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

Dudzik said the fierce weather won't prompt evacuations in North Texas.

"But it's going to be prolonged rainfall for two days," she said, "so flooding will be a problem; also sustained winds.

"So be prepared."

For all parts of North Texas, the Weather Service is urging residents to secure light-weight objects like trash cans and lawn chairs and to have necessary items on hand just in case, such as:

  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • A full tank of gas
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable foods
  • The Red Cross has some more information available on its Web site about how to prepare for the weekend.

    Staff writer Bill Miller contributed to this report.