Rain forecast to continue through weekend, flash flood watch issued

September 15, 2018

Despite some relief from rain Thursday, meteorologists are cautioning Rio Grande Valley residents to be prepared for the risk of flash floods as a tropical disturbance moves onshore. National Weather Service Brownsville Meteorologist Tim Speece said a tropical disturbance moving inland from the gulf will bring additional heavy rainfall to already saturated South Texas through Friday and possibly Saturday.

“We don’t really foresee any real stop with this until next week,” he said. “We don’t want people to relax too much.” The broad low-pressure system will move in Friday and Saturday, Speece said, and the entire Valley will be under a flash flood watch through Saturday.

“The soil is saturated. It’s already absorbed a lot of rain, and that’s the bad news,” he said. “Pretty much everybody is at risk for some form of flooding with this system.”

Rainfall is forecast at 1.5 inches to 2.5 inches with the heaviest downpours in the Falfurrias-Hebbronville-Zapata region, according to a NWS update Thursday afternoon. However, meteorologists said the potential for 4 inches to 6 inches or more of rainfall is a “reasonable worse case scenario” and local flooding

of 2 feet to 3 feet is likely through early Sunday.

The good news is that the National Hurricane Center aircraft that flew over the system did not find a strong center of circulation or strong wind production, Speece said.

NWS issued an update that there is a chance a tropical depression could form, though its main concern is flooding due to rainfall that could meet or exceed what the Valley experienced in June. It recommends that residents move valuables to higher levels of their home if they live in a flood-prone area and plan alternate driving routes immediately to avoid becoming trapped in floodwaters.

Residents who live near the Arroyo Colorado are most at risk of flooding due to rising water levels in creeks, NWS stated.

Tom Hushen, Cameron County’s emergency management coordinator, said that Wednesday street flooding in Harlingen caused by a downpour quickly receded. While his department can’t predict precisely where flooding willoccur,hesaid,itisready to respond. “There’s a big difference between 4 inches of rain over three days or 4 inches of rain over an hour,” Hushen said.

He also cautioned drivers to avoid attempting to cross flooded streets.

Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. on Thursday ordered a temporary closure of Beach Access 5, Beach Access 6 and Boca Chica Beach to vehicular traffic until further notice

due to high tides brought on by the tropical disturbance. “The rest of the county beach access areas, including Isla Blanca County Park and Andy Bowie County Park, on South Padre Island, remain open until further notice,” a county news release stated. While NWS said storms and showers through Saturday night “will produce frequent wind gusts over 30 knots in addition to choppy seas and cloud to water lightning,” dangerous rip currents are expected to continue at least through Saturday.

The Cameron County Public Works Department will continue distributing sandbags 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. Six bags will be given per household and business. The distribution locations are:

➤ Precinct 1 & 2: 3243 E. 14th St. (Brownsville)

➤ Precinct 3: FM 510 and San Jose Ranch Rd. (San Benito)

➤ Precinct 4: 201 N. T St. (Harlingen)

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