Tropical Storm Bill: A Big ‘Meh’ for Houston So Far

The National Weather Service reports that Tropical Storm Bill made landfall just before noon over Matagorda Island, a bit later than initially anticipated.

Which, it turns out, might just be one of the better scenarios for this storm as far as Houston is concerned. While the storm’s bands have so far dumped something like one half to two inches across the Houston metro area, we’ve yet to see a repeat of the Memorial Day flooding that devastated parts of town last month. And, as the storm heads north, its core is expected to track just west of Harris County, meaning some of the heaviest rainfall will be inland.

Still, the storm’s bands will continue to dump rain across Houston and the entire Southeast Texas region, including Harris County, remains in a flash flood watch until Wednesday evening. Given the likelihood of strong, isolated storms, the entire Houston area is under a tornado watch until midnight. Officials are predicting anywhere between 4 to 8 inches of rainfall across Harris County as the bands pass over Houston tonight and tomorrow. But Eric “Sci Guy” Berger at the Chron points out,  best-case scenario we get even less rain than that; worst-case scenario, the tail of Tropical Storm Bill’s heaviest moisture gets pulled over the metro area tonight and tomorrow morning, inundating us with even more rain.

And while rainfall totals across Houston so far appear pretty light, Harris County Flood Control District officials are continuing to monitor the bayous and creeks. Of particular concern, county official say, is high tides causing water to rise in the waterways near Galveston Bay.

The way things look now, it seems conditions could get way worse for our neighbors immediately to the west. AccuWeather reports that Bill is expected to take a slow, curved path northwest from landfall before shooting straight north through the state. And for those areas that look to be hardest hit by the storm, Bill might even be worse than your usual tropical disturbance.

See, typically tropical storms weaken rapidly as soon as they make landfall because dry air chokes off the moisture that feeds and intensifies the system. But much of Texas is already waterlogged due to recent flooding. According to AccuWeather, that means this system could linger even longer as it travels north.

If you've got any photos of flooding and/or general mayhem, please send them to michael.barajas@houstonpress.com.

Leif Reigstad and Zoë Kirsch contributed reporting

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