Herald/STEVE TRAYNOR - Heavy thunderstorms brought high winds and rushing water, making it difficult for residents of Harker Heights to secure their trash bins on pickup day on Tuesday. An employee of the city of Harker Heights moves a trash can from the middle of Wildewood Road after it floated down the street.

By Kevin M. Smith

Killeen Daily Herald

Weather advisories were downgraded by 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to just a flash flood watch for Central Texas after hours of a tornado watch and flash flood warning in some areas.

Meanwhile, more severe weather elsewhere caused flight delays for passengers at the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport.

"The problems we're experiencing are from other airports," said Mike Wilson, Killeen airport operations manager.

He said weather at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport caused delays and cancellations in Killeen. Federal Aviation Administration officials evacuated DFW's west tower for about 15 minutes after seeing a funnel cloud over a highway.

Winds of more than 100 mph were reported briefly at DFW, where lightning struck a ramp Tuesday. More than half of the 950 flights for all airlines scheduled to depart DFW on Tuesday were canceled, airport officials said. More than 100 incoming flights were diverted, which affected Killeen travelers as many flights out of Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport connect with flights in Dallas.

Storms in the Dallas area also damaged the computer reservation system for American Airlines, Wilson reported, delaying many passengers in Killeen.

According to information on flykilleen.net, most of the flights departing from Killeen were delayed or canceled.

Among the flights back to Killeen through Dallas that were disrupted included Killeen city staff and council members who were scheduled to return Tuesday evening from a trip to Washington, D.C. All City Council members, except Juan Rivera who was ill, City Manager Connie Green and Aviation Director John Sutton went to the nation's capital to lobby for Killeen issues.

Councilman Kenny Wells said Tuesday evening that he, Councilman Larry Cole and Mayor Pro Tem Fred Latham were stuck in Washington, D.C., for the night and hoped to return to Killeen Wednesday afternoon.

"Some of us got out," Wells said, noting Green, Sutton and council members Billy Workman, Claudia Brown and Otis Evans got rerouted through Houston to return to Killeen by Tuesday night.

Read more about their trip in Thursday's edition of the Killeen Daily Herald.

Robert Gray Army Airport reported .48 inches from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday while a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth reported up to 3 inches in west Bell County at 3 p.m.

Tara Dudzik, meteorologist with the weather service in Fort Worth, cautioned drivers to avoid water-covered roads. She said most flood-related deaths occur in a vehicle. Dudzik said two feet of rushing water can carry an SUV or pickup truck off the road.

A flash flood warning for west Bell County on Tuesday expired at 5:30 p.m. after rain temporarily stopped. A flash flood watch continues through this morning. Dudzik said a watch means flash floods are likely to occur because of rain, while a warning means flash floods are actually occurring.

At 5 p.m., Coryell County Emergency Management Coordinator Phil Yarbrough reported Farm-to-Market 184 was temporarily closed due to high water.

The weather service forecasts additional rain – if any – to end this morning giving way to partly cloudy skies with a high near 71 degrees and windy with gusts of up to 30 mph.

Thursday is expected to be sunny with a high near 73, according to the weather service.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Kevin M. Smith at ksmith@kdhnews.com or call (254) 501-7550

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