Tropical Depression Bill Inland Over Texas; Major Flood Threat Ramps Up For Texas, Oklahoma, Ozarks (FORECAST)

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Tracking Bill: What We Know
Weather Channel --
Highlights
  • Bill is now a tropical depression, and is spreading bands of locally heavy rain through parts of east and north Texas.
  • Additional torrential rain and flash flooding/river flooding is likely for parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri over the next three days.
  • A few wind gusts topping 40 mph and isolated tornadoes are also threats.
  • The official forecast calls for further weakening; however, a phenomenon known as the "brown ocean" effect may slow or even stop that weakening trend at times through the next couple of days.
  • Water levels remain above normal tide levels along parts of the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast, but should return closer to normal as Bill moves farther inland Wednesday.
  • Tropical Storm Bill made landfall along the Texas coast on Matagorda Island at 11:45 a.m. CDT Tuesday with top sustained winds of 60 mph. Matagorda Island is located between Houston and Corpus Christi.
  • LIVE UPDATES:Storm reports, news, photos and more

As Bill continues to move north, more locally heavy rain and flash flooding will occur flood-weary parts of the South.

Flood watches are posted from Texas to southern Illinois in advance of Bill and its remnant.

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Tropical storm Bill, Texas
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Tropical Depression Bill Inland Over Texas; Major Flood Threat Ramps Up For Texas, Oklahoma, Ozarks (FORECAST)
Bill Buehring's umbrella gives way to a strong gust of wind caused by Tropical Depression Bill in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. The churning tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned that it moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
The swollen Trinity river flows beneath the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge as storm clouds pass over the downtown area bringing more rain Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Dallas. The tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned Wednesday that as Tropical Depression Bill moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Water flows under a partially submerged park bench along a trail by Skyline Bridge Park on the Trinity river after heavy morning rains Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Dallas.The tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned Wednesday that as Tropical Depression Bill moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A woman shields herself from strong winds as the remnants of Tropical Depression Bill passes over Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Members with the Dallas Animal Services department walk back to their vehicles past road closure barricades after checking on a pet shelter by a flooded road Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Irving, Texas. The shelter had been unaffected by the heavy morning rains according to the employees. A churning tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned Wednesday that as Tropical Depression Bill moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents.(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A statue of Jesus calming the sea titled "It is I" faces the bay and gulf, in Corpus Christi, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, as Tropical Storm Bill begins to make landfall. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Tropical Storm Bill came ashore Tuesday morning in the area of Matagorda County, about 90 miles southwest of Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A Port Lavaca city worker helps clear debris from a marina area as Tropical Storm Bill makes landfall, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Port Lavaca, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Betsy Lauritzen loses control of her umbrella after a strong gust of wind caused by Tropical Depression Bill in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. The tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned Wednesday that as Tropical Depression Bill moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
A driver navigates his way through a flood waters after driving past a road closure sign as water from heavy morning rains flows across the street Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Irving, Texas. A National Weather Service meteorologist says mild tornados remain a possibility as Tropical Depression Bill continues its slow trek north. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A seagull takes flight over the bay as Tropical Storm Bill moves into the area, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Corpus Christi, Texas. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Tropical Storm Bill will come ashore Tuesday morning in the area of Matagorda County, about 90 miles southwest of Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR THE WEATHER CHANNEL – The Weather Channels' Anaridis Rodriguez reports on Tropical Depression Bill as the storm moves through Dallas on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 in Dallas. (Rex C. Curry/AP Images for The Weather Channel)
Drivers navigate through a closed road due to high water after a morning of rain showers Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Irving, Texas. A churning tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned Wednesday that as Tropical Depression Bill moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents.(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A vehicle passes through a road closed barricade after driving through a low water crossing Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Irving, Texas. A churning tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned Wednesday that as Tropical Depression Bill moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents.(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Center Point crews work to restore power after a power line fell on Highway 60 due to high winds from Tropical Storm Bill on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Wharton, Texas. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Port Lavaca Mayor Jack Whitlow surveys damage to a park pier as Tropical Storm Bill passes over, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Port Lavaca, Texas. The storm came ashore shortly before noon along Matagorda Island with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A woman walks back from watching the waves roll over the end of the 29th Street Galveston rock groin Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Galveston, Texas as Tropical Storm Bill makes landfall near Matagorda Bay on the Texas Gulf coast. (Rachel Denny Clow/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)
Joe Mora and Josh Gerdel brave the heavy winds on the Matagorda beach pier that Tropical Storm Bill brought to shore on Tuesday , June 16, 2015, in Matagorda, Texas. The two are from Kansas and have never seen a tropical storm before. "We are used to wind, but not the rain and the waves," Mora said. Southeastern Texas is expected to see between 4 and 8 inches of rain by the end of Wednesday, with some areas getting as much as 12 inches. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Waves crash onto the Matagorda beach pier as Tropical Storm Bill comes on shore on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Matagorda, Texas. Southeastern Texas is expected to see between 4 and 8 inches of rain by the end of Wednesday, with some areas getting as much as 12 inches. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Seagulls hover over a shrimp boat in Corpus Christi Marina as Tropical Storm Bill moves into the area, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Corpus Christi, Texas. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Tropical Storm Bill will come ashore Tuesday morning in the area of Matagorda County, about 90 miles southwest of Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Darrell Mayo shoots video of the rough surf from Tropical Storm Bill on Tuesday June 16, 2015, at Galveston's 61st Street Fishing Pier as Tropical Storm Bill makes landfall near Matagorda Bay on the Texas Gulf coast. (Rachel Denny Clow/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)
Port Lavaca city worker Oscar Quinenilla, front right, helps clear debris from a marina area as Tropical Storm Bill makes landfall, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Port Lavaca, Texas. Tropical Storm Bill moved slowly over inland Texas on Tuesday, bringing another round of heavy rains to a state weary from recent deadly floods, evacuations and washed-out roads. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Workers secure scaffolding around First United Methodist Church, on the bay in Corpus Christi, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, as Tropical Storm Bill begins to make landfall. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Port Lavaca Mayor Jack Whitlow surveys damage to a park pier as Tropical Storm Bill passes over, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Port Lavaca, Texas. The storm came ashore shortly before noon along Matagorda Island with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
High waves move onto the Matagorda beach as Tropical Storm Bill comes on shore on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Matagorda, Texas. Southeastern Texas is expected to see between 4 and 8 inches of rain by the end of Wednesday, with some areas getting as much as 12 inches. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Port Lavaca city workers clear debris from a marina area as Tropical Storm Bill makes landfall, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Port Lavaca, Texas. The storm came ashore shortly before noon along Matagorda Island with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Port Lavaca Mayor Jack Whitlow surveys damage to a park pier as Tropical Storm Bill passes over, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Port Lavaca, Texas. The storm came ashore shortly before noon along Matagorda Island with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Port Lavaca city workers clear debris caused by Tropical Storm Bill, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Port Lavaca, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A high water sign on FM 2031 is pushed down by the winds that Tropical Storm Bill brought to shore on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Matagorda, Texas. Southeastern Texas is expected to see between 4 and 8 inches of rain by the end of Wednesday, with some areas getting as much as 12 inches. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
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(MORE: Latest News on Bill)

Locally heavy rain can be expected both in the core of the system – mainly to the north and northeast of Bill's center – and in narrower rain bands farther away from the center of circulation.

A Lower Colorado River Authority rain gauge measured over 11 inches of rain west-southwest of El Campo, Texas as of Wednesday morning, with rain rates of 3-4 inches per hour. El Campo is about 90 miles southwest of downtown Houston.

(MORE: 6 Incredible U.S. Rainfall Records)

Generally, widespread additional 3 to 5 inch rain totals can be expected, with locally much higher amounts likely where rainbands remain stationary or train over the same areas. This is likely to occur through Wednesday evening in a corridor from the middle Texas Gulf Coast through parts of the Houston metro into east Texas. Rain rates of 2 to 4 inches per hour, at times, are possible.

(MORE: Texas No Stranger to Flooding From Tropical Storms)

This is an area that has already had record rainfall and flooding in May, so additional heavy rainfall will quickly trigger renewed flash flooding and may eventually worsen river flooding still ongoing.

(MORE: Texas/Oklahoma Already Saturated)

Here is a general timeline by region when we expect the flash flood threat from this tropical system to be highest:

  • Texas (east, north, central): Continues through Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
  • Oklahoma, western Arkansas, southwest Missouri: Later Wednesday into early Friday

(FORECASTS: Houston | Dallas | Ft. Smith | Tulsa | Springfield)

Note there will be scattered thunderstorms ahead of (to the north and northeast of) Bill in the southern Plains and Ozarks through Wednesday that may also trigger local flash flooding.

The tropical moisture surge from Bill has already started to intercept an old frontal boundary draped from the Ozarks to north Texas. These intersections have been notorious flash flood producers in the past.

(MORE: Brown Oceans: Some Tropical Systems Strengthen Over Land | Video: Dr. Shepherd Explains | Wunderground blog)

Late this week, the remnant system and its moisture will get drawn northeast, then east into the mid-Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley, leading to a threat of locally heavy rain, there.

In all, Bill or its remnant may produce heavy rainfall over at least seven states from Texas to Indiana through the end of the week.

(MAPS: 7-Day Weekly Planner)

Model trends even suggest that the remnants of Bill may survive all the way to the East Coast by the weekend, bringing the potential for locally heavy rainfall. However, any remnants will likely get tangled up in the jet stream by then and that should prevent Bill from becoming a tropical cyclone again off the East Coast.

Tropical Storm Bill's Landfall

Tropical Storm Bill made landfall on Matagorda Island, Texas, at 11:45 a.m. CDT Tuesday. Bill was then downgraded to a tropical depression at 1 a.m. CDT Wednesday.

The peak storm surge from Bill occurred Tuesday morning and early Tuesday afternoon, coinciding with an early morning high tide along the Upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coasts.

(MORE: Expert Analysis)

At least a foot of water covered areas along FM 2031 south of Matagorda. Highway 87 was closed early Tuesday morning from Gilchrist to highway 124 on the east edge of the Bolivar Peninsula due to debris on the road. Galveston County emergency management reported yards were flooded in parts of Hitchcock and Bayou Vista, across the bay from Galveston Island. The water level at Port Lavaca, Texas, was more than three feet above normal early Tuesday afternoon.

Tropical storm-force winds were reported near the Texas coast on Tuesday morning. Port O'Connor, Texas, clocked sustained winds of 44 mph and a gust to 54 mph.

Stronger winds were reported on oil rigs off the Texas coast Tuesday morning. One elevated rig just east of Port O'Connor measured a 66 mph gust at 9:10 a.m. CDT Tuesday.

Another burst of high winds developed several hours after landfall in an area just east and southeast of Bill's center. This included a gust to 58 mph in Palacios, Texas, at 6:20 p.m. CDT.

Bill became the second landfall in the U.S. in the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season.

According to a preliminary check of mainland U.S. tropical storm and hurricane landfall data from NOAA's Hurricane Research Division, senior meteorologist Stu Ostro found the last time the U.S. had a pair of tropical storm or stronger landfalls this early in the season was 1871.

Bill also became the fourth mainland U.S. landfall of at least tropical storm intensity since the start of the 2013 hurricane season. This is yet more proof that landfalls can and do occur even in somewhat "quieter" hurricane seasons.

Check back with us at weather.com and The Weather Channel for updates on this system.

Senior meteorologist Nick Wiltgen and meteorologists Jonathan Erdman and Chris Dolce contributed to this report.

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