After more heavy rain and temperatures near freezing overnight Wednesday, Killeen had a break from the downpours on Thursday. But that won’t likely be the case Friday.
“Kind of like rinse and repeat,” said Daniel Huckaby, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Dallas/Fort Worth.
The heavy downpours are expected to return throughout the day Friday and into Saturday, he said.
It’s been a week of rain for the Killeen area, a welcome relief for firefighters and others affected by the severe drought conditions that have plagued the region and much of Texas.
The wet weather prompted Fort Hood to close all tactical low-water crossings — used by Army tanks and other military vehicles — on the installation early Thursday morning.
“Though this action does not impact motorists, they are advised to avoid roadways with water running across them. Turn around, don’t drown,” Fort Hood posted on its Facebook page. Fort Hood also issued a text alert about the water crossings being closed, although not every smartphone in the area received the text. Other alert systems were also used to send out the message, Fort Hood officials said.
Fort Hood’s water crossings have proven to be deadly encounters in the past.
Eight Fort Hood soldiers and a West Point cadet died after the Army truck the were in overturned at an Owl Creek tactical low-water crossing on June 2, 2016. And on April 11, 2017, a soldier believed to be driving to work was swept away by high waters from Clear Creek, while he was driving on Fort Hood’s Turkey Run Road, a public-use road.
Killeen’s Skylark Field has recorded .76 inches of rain since Monday, said Huckaby, but other areas in Bell County have measured more than an inch this week, and the totals will likely increase by the weekend.
A rain gauge at Stillhouse Hollow Dam measured 1.59 inches since Monday, and Belton Lake Dam also received more than an inch. More rain has fallen in North and West Texas.
What does all this mean for the drought?
“This will certainly improve things,” especially for North and West Texas, where the drought conditions have been very severe, Huckaby said.
“For Central Texas so far, we have seen enough of an improvement” that next week the NWS may downgrade the area’s drought condition from Level 2 “Severe Drought” to Level 1 “Moderate Drought.”
There is a 90 percent of rain and thunderstoms for the Killeen-Fort Hood area today with a high of 58 degrees and a low of 56 degrees, according to NWS.
Saturday has a 60 percent chance of rain with a high of 74 and low of 42, but things tame down from there. Sunday has a 20 percent chance of rain an high of 65.
Monday is shaping up to be sunny with a high of 68.