By Victor O'Brien
Killeen Daily Herald
Flash floods, thunderstorms and blustery winds are expected to descend upon the Killeen area today as Hurricane Ike storms through eastern Texas.
The Killeen area has potential for almost a half foot of rain and northeast wind gusts up to 65 mph, said Troy Marshall, a National Weather Service meteorological technician. Marshall said 2 to 4 inches of rain and sustained winds between 25 to 35 mph were more probable, however.
The forecast for Killeen was light compared to the 20-foot surge expected when Ike made landfall today near Galveston.
After meeting with state and county officials Friday, Harker Heights Fire Chief Jack Collier expected East Bell County near Temple to experience flooding and tropical storm winds, but the Killeen area would escape with showers.
Today's rainfall could cause flooding, but was not expected except in low-lying areas or places near creeks such as Nolan Creek, Collier said. He said residents near that area were notified by phone of potential flooding. Approximately 50 residents said they might need shelter, Collier said.
Killeen was planning for "typical" rainfall, but recognized the potential for flooding in certain areas, said Drainage Utility Engineer Kristina Ramirez. Emergency services including search and rescue are prepared, said Chad Berg, Killeen emergency operation coordinator. He said shelters in the city would be available for residents forced from their homes.
The winds and thunderstorms were expected to start after midnight, gradually increase into daybreak and continue on through the afternoon today. In the evening, the rain and winds are expected to diminish as Ike moves to Northeast Texas. Marshall said Sunday's forecast showed a "slight chance" of showers and winds out of northeast at 10 to 15 mph.
Contact Victor O'Brien at email@example.com or (254) 501-7468.
Potential Killeen flood areas
Avoid low-lying areas that have flooded in the past and areas near creek beds and tributaries such as Nolan Creek, Little Nolan Creek, South Nolan Creek, Lowe's Tributary (near the Central Texas Expressway), Long Branch Tributary (near W.S. Young and Westcliff Drive off Fort Hood) and Caprice Tributary.
For emergencies, dial 9-1-1
Killeen severe weather hot line: (254) 286-2005
Killeen government access channel: Time Warner Cable Channel 10
Killeen evacuee and community emergency information: www.readykilleen.org
Killeen Fire Department non-emergency line at (254) 501-7676
Harker Heights contacts
For emergencies dial, 9-1-1
Harker Heights Fire Department non-emergency: (254) 699-2688.
Harker Heights Web site: www.harkerheights.com
State & regional information hot line: 2-1-1
Out-of-town evacuees can contact the Red Cross at (254) 200-4400 for shelter information.
For hurricane aid donations, contact the Red Cross at (254) 200-4400 and the Salvation Army at (254) 634-7172.
Call TXU to report a power outage at (800) 233-2133.
Diapers and food for infants
Extra water and food for people and pets
Important personal documents
Cash (since ATMs don't work if power is out)
Warm blankets/sleeping bags
Source: City of Killeen and Department of Department of Homeland Security
Follow TV and radio news reports for weather updates
If you encounter high water while driving, turn around. Do not attempt to drive through the water.
Find shelter in a windowless room or hallway.
Lock down or bring inside any outdoors items likely to go airborne
Source: City of Killeen