Monday brought sunshine to North Texas, but the break from the nasty weather probably won’t last long.
Forecasts are calling for more showers beginning Tuesday, which could mean more flooding for an already waterlogged region. A flash flood watch has been issued for most of North Texas for Tuesday and Wednesday.
In Granbury, crews worked Monday to shore up a mammoth sinkhole that emerged Sunday — call it Sinkhole de Mayo — in a Brookshire’s grocery store parking lot while National Weather Service survey teams spent the day surveying possible tornado damage in Bosque, Denton, Hill and Van Zandt counties. Survey teams may also investigate possible tornadoes in Ellis and Kaufman counties this week.
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Twenty-two tornadoes have been confirmed in North Texas this spring.
The latest were an EF-1 that touched down Sunday afternoon 2 miles south of Denton, and the deadly EF-3 tornado in Vann, about 70 miles southeast of Dallas.
Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday declared a state of disaster in Bosque, Clay, Denton, Eastland, Gaines, Montague and Van Zandt counties. The declaration authorizes a further mobilization of state resources to assist communities affected by the storms.
After a day’s reprieve from the thunderstorms and heavy rain, showers are expected to return on Tuesday.
“The better rain chances for rain will arrive overnight into Wednesday,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Fano. “The good news is this low pressure is not as deep or as powerful as the one that came through Sunday.”
Even though the rain should be lighter, it could cause more flooding in saturated areas north and south of Dallas-Fort Worth.
“In some of these counties, just an inch would cause problems,” Fano said.
Near Riverbend Estates in east Fort Worth, the heavy rain caused a sewer line to collapse, resulting in several sanitary sewer overflows.
The Fort Worth Water Department discovered the collapse at 6801 Randol Mill Road on Monday while investigating reported overflows that had not receded, said Mary Gugliuzza, a department spokeswoman. Crews are now doing bypass pumping, or temporarily diverting water around the pipe being repaired, she said.
Crews also found a fish kill in one pond at Riverbend Estates, Gugliuzza said, and the pond is being aerated to restore oxygen levels. She said the department had not yet determined how many fish were killed.
The water department had begun the final stage of a three-phase project to upgrade and relocate the original sewer line, which was installed in 1955. Construction started in January and is expected to take a year to complete.
Fort Worth has notified the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality of the overflow, Gugliuzza said.
And the long-range outlooks show the rain sticking around for at least another week or two.
“There's nothing that shows it changing at least through the third week of May,” Fano said. “We will continue to see successive storm systems every few days.”
Overnight, rains dumped 10 inches in the Corsicana area. There were also radar estimates of 12 inches of rain east of Corsicana.
While seven-day rainfall totals have shown more than 11 inches in the Corsicana area and close to 10 inches near Bowie in Montague County, most of the DFW area has gotten far less.
“A lot of these rural counties can handle 6-8 inches better than Tarrant and Dallas counties,” Fano said. “These flash flooding issues would be even more serious if they were happening in the middle of the Metroplex.”
At Dallas/Fort Worth Airport this year, 18.11 inches had fallen as of Monday morning. That’s 5.19 inches above normal and nearly as much precipitation — 21.32 inches — as the airport had all of last year.
“By the end of the week, it is very possible that we could exceed last year's rainfall,” Fano said.
This is also the 11th-wettest period from April 1 through May 10, with 9 inches of rain. But Fano said it would take 4 more inches this month to crack the Top 10 list for the wettest April and May.
The rainfall has helped almost all area lakes.
The Tarrant Regional Water District, which provides raw water to almost all of Tarrant County, was facing tougher water restrictions at the start of year, when its lakes’s overall capacity was close to 60 percent.
Now its overall supply is above 88 percent and climbing.
Lake Bridgeport has risen more than 7 feet since May 4, and Eagle Mountain Lake and the Richland-Chambers Reservoir in East Texas were expected to be full late Monday.
If the rain continues, the drought could be history — something that would have seemed unthinkable a few months ago.
“You very rarely ease out of the drought,” Fano said.
Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698
Wettest starts to spring in North Texas (April 1-May 10)
1. 21.30 inches in 1922
2. 17.20 inches in 1942
3. 13.66 inches in 1995
11. 9 inches in 2015
Source: National Weather Service