Heavy Rain in South Texas Could Bring More Flooding Before Tropical Disturbance Washes Out

At a Glance

  • Showers and thunderstorms will be numerous in coastal Texas through early Thursday.
  • Major flooding has occurred in areas that have seen repeated bouts of rain.
  • Flash flood emergencies were issued in south Texas, but have since expired.

Heavy rainfall in south Texas Wednesday morning caused major flooding that has submerged vehicles and structures, forced evacuations and led to numerous water rescues.

The National Weather Service (NWS) had issued two flash flood emergencies in south Texas following 6-14 inches of rainfall early this week. More rainfall is possible through early Thursday.

Here’s what has happened so far, and what we’re expecting through early Thursday:

Storm Reports

The heavy rain has caused roads to crumble in McAllen, the location of the first flash flood emergency. Some communities in McAllen and surrounding communities, including Weslaco, have seen 4-8 inches of rain.

An elderly woman was rescued in rising waters in McAllen.

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Mulitple road closures have been reported in Hidalgo County, including near Mercedes and in Weslaco.

An earlier emergency was prompted by heavy rainfall in Harlingen, Texas, which has seen 14.65 inches of rain in the 72 hours ending 11 a.m. CDT Wednesday. Lighter rainfall this afternoon has allowed the flash flood emergency to expire.

Cars were reported to be submerged in floodwaters along frontage roads of Interstate 2 from Mercedes to Harlingen. Water has also inundated multiple structures in Mercedes and Donna, according to an NWS report.

Cameron County has opened the Los Frenos dome for those that need shelter, according to the Valley Morning Star.

Some communities in Brownsville have seen 4-5 inches of rain since Monday.

Several roads and summer schools closed as of Wednesday afternoon in Corpus Christi due to the heavy rainfall.

Another flash flood emergency was issued Wednesday morning for Port Aransas, Texas. Water rescues were reported in the city and water entered some homes,

Flooding also occurred on the upper Texas coast from heavy rain late Monday and again on Tuesday. Almost 11 inches of rain soaked the Beaumont-Port Arthur area Monday-Tuesday.

Vehicles stalled in Port Arthur due to street flooding Tuesday morning. In nearby Bridge City, floodwaters reportedly entered some homes, according to an NWS storm report.

(NEWS: Roads shut down as rain slams Texas)

Elsewhere, more than a foot of rainfall accumulated near Falfurrias in south Texas during a 30-hour period between Monday and midday Tuesday.

Premont, Texas, picked up 11-plus inches of rain Monday night through Tuesday morning. However, the rain gauge at that location overflowed, so the precise amount of rain is unknown, according to the NWS.

Tuesday evening, several high water rescues were reported in the Corpus Christi area with many roads flooded. A storm total of 13.80 inches of rain has been reported in the city as of 11 a.m. CDT Wednesday.

Flooding forced road closures in the Alice area and other spots in south Texas on Tuesday.

Flood Forecast

Radar imagery shows showers and thunderstorms with locally heavy rainfall near and inland from portions of the Texas coast as of Wednesday afternoon.

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Current Radar, Watches and Warnings

(Watches and warnings are issued by the National Weather Service.)

The rainfall is fueled by an upper-level low-pressure system that will linger over eastern Texas into Thursday. That low is interacting with widespread tropical moisture, leading to the development of numerous showers and thunderstorms.

Since coastal Texas is experiencing various levels of drought, the ground will be able to absorb a good bit of the rain in areas where significant rainfall hasn’t occurred yet, especially if it comes in waves with breaks in between.

However, even with drought conditions, flooding could materialize in areas that see repetitive bouts of showers and thunderstorms or where a band of rain stalls for several hours. That type of persistent rainfall is what has caused flooding in south Texas Tuesday-Wednesday.

As a result, flash flood watches have been issued by the NWS for areas near or on much of the Texas coast, with the exception of the Houston and Galveston metro areas.

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Flood Alerts

(Watches and warnings are issued by the National Weather Service.)

The NWS office in Houston noted that widespread flash flooding is not anticipated, but bands of heavy rainfall that develop and rotate across southeastern Texas may produce areas of flash flooding as they repeatedly move across the same areas.

At least some street flooding is likely to occur during heavier bursts of rainfall this week.

As always, if you are in an automobile and encounter a flooded roadway, do not attempt to drive through floodwaters.

 

How Much Rain?

Rainfall totals through Thursday will be impressive in eastern Texas.

Widespread additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches are expected through Thursday near and inland from the Texas coast, with pockets of an additional 3 to 5 inches of rain. Some locations could see rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches (locally more than 12 inches).

Houston, Corpus Christi and Victoria are among the cities that could see significant amounts of rain through midweek.