North Texas braced for heavy rain into early Sunday, and with water levels already high, some flooding was expected, according to the National Weather Service’s Fort Worth office.
On Sunday morning, a flood warning was issued for Dallas, Denton and Collin counties as well as eastern Tarrant. Two to three inches of rain fell overnight, the weather service said.
Meteorologist Dennis Cavanaugh said Saturday night that little had changed from earlier forecasts calling for a 90 percent chance of rain in Fort Worth overnight.
With water being released from area reservoirs, he said, the biggest question was whether locally heavy rain would cause flooding in rivers and streams. A flash flood warning was issued for Dallas and Ellis counties until 2:30 a.m.
“It’s going to be a pretty big event overnight,” weather service meteorologist Joe Harris said earlier Saturday.
In Wichita County, residents, including those in Wichita Falls, living within a half-mile of the swollen Wichita River have been ordered to evacuate.
A tornado watch was in effect for most North Texas counties, including Dallas and Tarrant.
Heavy rainfall was expected to pour on the already soaked area, dumping 1-4 inches — and more in some spots — by Sunday daybreak. Flash flooding is “likely” from rapid runoff, and it will add to the high water levels in the Metroplex.
“If you live in a low area that floods, be prepared to move to higher ground,” Harris said. “If you’re traveling, know the rule: Turn around, don’t drown.”
Drivers Sunday morning will likely need to detour around low-lying roads.
“People need to plan for a secondary route to get where they’re going the safest way,” Harris said.
It’s the latest weather event in an abnormally rainy North Texas spring.
Lake Grapevine is bursting at 15.8 feet above capacity, which is 25 feet higher than a year ago. By Saturday afternoon, Lake Bridgeport, which was 24 feet low just a month ago, should be full. Farther west, Possum Kingdom Lake, which was 14 feet down a month ago, was expected to fill sometime over the three-day weekend.
The Tarrant Regional Water District, which owns and operates Lake Bridgeport, Eagle Mountain Lake, Cedar Creek Lake and the Richland-Chambers Reservoir, is also closely monitoring the situation. This is the first time all its lakes have been full since July 11, 2010.
North Texas has received more rain in less than five months this year than all of last year.
Staff writers Mark David Smith and Patrick M. Walker contributed to this report, which includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.