Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Texas Officials Eye Rising Rivers Due to Tropical Depression

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Texas Officials Eye Rising Rivers Due to Tropical Depression

Article excerpt

DALLAS * A churning tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned Wednesday that as Tropical Depression Bill moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents.

Sustained maximum winds from the former tropical storm dropped to 35 mph by Wednesday morning, but isolated areas near the Texas coast southwest of Houston saw more than 11 inches of rainfall. Many roads across a broad stretch of eastern Texas were closed due to high water, and hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm was moving north at about 13 mph as it shifted into the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Flash flood watches and warnings were in effect.

"Even though the state is facing challenges, it looks like we have been able to avoid the worst," Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday.

He and other state officials said the challenge over the next 48 hours would be the abundant rainfall, particularly in northern parts of Texas.

About 3 to 5 inches of rain fell on areas of central Texas still cleaning up and recovering from Memorial Day weekend floods that left 14 dead and two missing along the Blanco River in Blanco and Hays counties.

Emergency management officials warily monitored Texas rivers that were forecast to rise through the weekend.

Kent Prochazka, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service near Houston, said the threat of the storm had diminished somewhat, describing Bill as "well-behaved," but warned that rising rivers remained a concern.

"We probably are not going to see any magnitude where it's going to be critical, life-threatening or 'Take your babies and run,'" Prochazka said.

The focus has "shifted toward the rivers" and how they're able to absorb runoff in the coming days, he said.

The Brazos River southwest of Houston was about 32 feet high Wednesday but was predicted to exceed its flood stage and swell to 50 feet by Sunday. A portion of the Red River, which divides Texas from Oklahoma, ran more than 25 feet high Wednesday, but was forecast to grow to about 37 feet, well above its flood stage. …

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