Remnants of Tropical Storm Bill Cause Deadly Floods in Central USA

Floods hit parts of Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana on Thursday, 18 June 2015 after heavy rainfall from the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill. Two people have died in the floods in Oklahoma in the last 2 days.

As the storm moved northeastwards, forecasters are expecting heavy rain to hit parts of Arkansas and Missouri. Missouri has already seen heavy rain and severe flooding over the last few days and one person has died as a result. Yesterday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency.

Texas

Wide areas of Texas received between 3 to 6 inches of rain, but some areas southwest of Houston saw almost 12 inches fall, according to unofficial observers.

Evacuations were carried out in the Texas city of Nacogdoches after the flooding Banita Creek threatened homes in the area.

Nation Weather Service Norman say that the Red River at Gainesville, Texas, is expected to record its highest ever levels of 41 feet, beating the 40.08 feet of 1987.

Record levels of the Red River at Gainsville, Oklahoma. Image: NOAA / NWS
Record levels of the Red River at Gainesville, Oklahoma. Image: NOAA / NWS

Levels of the Trinity River at Liberty near Houston remain at flood stage, standing at 29.71 feet, well above the flood stage of 26 feet. The highest recorded level is 31 feet.

Louisiana

In Louisiana, the city of Shreveport was once again under water after 4.5 inches (116 mm) of rain fell in the last 24 hours (according to WMO figures). The area was flooded just a few days earlier after the Red River overflowed.

Oklahoma

Two people have been reported killed in the flooding in Oklahoma in the last 2 days.

A young boy was swept out of his father’s arms as they tried to escape the floodwaters of the overflowing Hickory Creek in Ardmore, Oklahoma on Wednesday 17 June. The father survived. The body of the boy was recovered yesterday.

An elderly woman died after her vehicle became submerged in flood water in Macomb, central Oklahoma.

NWS Norman reports that 7.32 inches of rain fell in a 6 hour period yesterday in Newport. Ardmore saw around 10 inches of rain fall in 24 hours.

NWS Norman also says that levels of the Washita River near the southern Oklahoma town of Dickson have risen rapidly to 48.58 feet, beating the previous record of 45.2 feet. The overflowing Washita has already flooded wide areas of farmland in Carter county.

Levels of the Washita River at Dickson, Oklahoma. Image: NOAA / NWS
Levels of the Washita River at Dickson, Oklahoma. Image: NOAA / NWS

Missouri

With “storm Bill” heading northeastwards, the state of Missouri is bracing itself for further heavy rain, adding to the flood woes caused by rain earlier this week.

Yesterday 18 June 2015, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency. In his statement he said:

“The heavy rain associated with the severe weather already has led to flooding along many streams and rivers; at least one drowning has been reported in connection with the flooding in Missouri. More heavy rain is expected across the state in the next few days in connection with the remnants of tropical depression Bill.

“In addition to the Mississippi River, a number of smaller rivers and streams are expected to hit major flood stage including the Meramec River, the Bourbeuse River, the Cuivre River and Dardenne Creek”.

Illinois and Indiana

From Friday, Illinois and Indiana are also likely to experience heavy rain and possible flooding.
River levels are already high in some areas of Illinois, prompting evacuations in Utica and Marseilles.