As Tropical Storm Bill moved slowly north over inland Texas on Tuesday night, forecasters warned that its remnants could dump as much as 12 inches of rain on sodden North Texas on Wednesday.
Three to 6 inches of rain is more likely, but isolated areas could get more, which would produce flooding across the region.
The heaviest bands of rain were expected to arrive after midnight as the storm’s center travels across the Dallas/Fort Worth area. But the rain is likely to stick around for much of Wednesday, with isolated tornadoes possible.
If the path of the storm changes, the rainfall totals could be far less.
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“Assuming the remnants move just west of the I-35 corridor, some areas could pick up 6 to 12 inches,” said Dennis Cavanaugh, a National Weather Service meteorologist.
Both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Tarrant Regional Water District monitored the weather throughout the night.
The Corps lakes are designed to hold water to prevent flooding downstream, but because of May’s record rainfall, many are close to capacity.
A flash flood watch is in effect for all of North Texas until Thursday evening. A tornado watch was issued for Southeast Texas until midnight. The closest county to the Dallas-Fort Worth area included in the tornado watch was Navarro County, but that watch could be expanded later to include the DFW area.
Already this year, 31.63 inches of rain have fallen at D/FW Airport, which is 13.45 inches above normal.
As a result of the spring rains, Grapevine Lake is 25 feet above its conservation level and Lewisville Lake is nearly 12 feet above capacity. Ray Roberts is 8 feet above the conservation level and Joe Pool Lake is at 13 feet above capacity.
“Currently our big concern is Lewisville and the Ray Roberts area,” said Denisha Braxton, a spokeswoman for the Corps’ Fort Worth district. “We’re going to continue to monitor the situation and we may have to make some more releases.”
The Tarrant Regional Water District reconvened its flood team Tuesday afternoon. Rainfall could bring back flooding similar to what was seen several weeks ago around Lake Bridgeport, Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Worth.
“It’s just a matter of how intense it will be,” said David Marshall, TRWD’s director of engineering and operations support. “If it’s all at one time, we’ll probably be back in houses around the lakes. If it’s spread out over three days, it may not be quite as severe.”
The city of Dallas planned to activate its office of emergency management beginning at midnight.
Dallas city crews were closing many of the same streets that flooded in May.
In Tarrant County, officials were monitoring the situation but had not opened the emergency operations center by late Tuesday, said Tonya Hunter, the county’s emergency management coordinator.
“With the path of the storm coming right over the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there will be some widespread flooding if it stays on that track,” Hunter said. “We are expecting both flooding and flash flooding.”
Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698