What officials are now calling Tropical Storm Bill was hovering just off the Texas Gulf Coast Tuesday before dawn and, according to the National Hurricane Center, should make landfall this morning somewhere near Port O'Connor.
As the storm hits the coast and moves inland, National Weather Service officials are now predicting lower overall rain totals than had previously been forecast on Monday. The weather service reports that the Houston area could now see widespread rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches, although isolated areas could see as much as 10 inches of rain. The storm is expected to bring sustained winds as high as 50 mph that should die down as the storm moves inland.
On the heels of widespread Memorial Day flooding, local officials had spent much of Monday preparing for the worst. City of Houston officials activated the Emergency Operations Center last night and have already taken precautions to block off roads prone to flooding once the heavy rains hit. Yesterday Galveston County officials announced a voluntary evacuation of the Bolivar Peninsula. A flash flood watch remains in effect for the Greater Houston area until Thursday.
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Several area school districts have already closed summer school and teacher training sessions, including Houston ISD, Fort Bend, Cypress-Fairbanks, Katy, Lamar, Tomball and Galveston. University of Houston-Clear Lake announced plans to open at noon today and Houston Community College just announced its campuses will be closed Tuesday due to the possibility of severe weather.