• October 23, 2014

Massive storm system may bring flash floods, hail

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Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 4:30 am

Bell County is under a flood watch through this afternoon as a massive upper-level storm system moves out of Mexico and across Texas.

Although the rainfall began with light showers early Tuesday, the brunt of the storm is expected to hit today, bringing between 2 to 4 inches of rain, flash floods and possible hail, National Weather Service Meterologist Jennifer Dunn said.

“While it will not be terribly windy, we will have showers and thunderstorms that could become severe as the rain intensity picks up in the morning,” Dunn said.

The flash flood warning extends east from Killeen across Interstate 35, with even greater rainfall — 3 to 5 inches — expected for Milam County.

The National Weather Service is concerned about flash floods or the rapid rise in water caused by dense rainfall gathering in low-lying areas, such as creeks or ditches, during this rain event, Dunn said.

“Although many of those areas have been dry, we still can see a rapid rise in water,” Dunn said.

“If you do go out, be aware of flooding on roadways.”

If rainfall intensity increases severely, the National Weather Service will call a flash flood warning, triggering emergency personnel in the region to react.

Flood warning

In May, the city of Belton began installing an early flood warning system in the Nolan Creek Basin.

Low-lying portions of Belton, Harker Heights and Nolanville experienced flash floods in 2010, devastating households and businesses along Nolan Creek.

The new warning system incorporates data taken from upstream monitoring systems to warn residents by cellphone of an incoming deluge.

“What we are looking for is just a little more time to let people know where the water is coming and if it’s coming,” Belton city spokesman Paul Romer said.

The cities of Killeen, Harker Heights and Nolanville also have contributed funds to the warning system and expect to have monitoring equipment in place later this year.

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