Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Bracing for flash flooding, North Texans rethink last summer’s rain dances
Flash floods are about as much fun as getting flashed outside Flashdance The Musical.
It’s been 24 hours since last we visited with meteorologist Ted Ryan of the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, when he called for “a good 24 hours” worth of rain starting at some point today. Since then the National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for most of North Central Texas set to commence this evening and stay wet into Wednesday afternoon.
“Not a lot has changed” since Monday morning’s predictions, says Ryan, who still expects Dallas-Fort Worth to see between two to three inches of rain beginning in just a few hours as rain begins to approach from the southwest.
“The only difference is it looks like the rain may end a little bit sooner” than originally predicted, he says, “maybe Wednesday afternoon. The reason is the heavy rain’s coming in six hours quicker [than originally forecast]. We’ll start getting showers and a few thunderstorms mid- to late morning in the Metroplex. It’ll be showery. Heavy rain starts this evening and should continue tonight into tomorrow morning. It’ll definitely be wet for the Wednesday morning commute, and things will begin to taper off by the early to mid-afternoon hours tomorrow.”
Ryan does want to make one thing clear: A wintertime flash flood watch isn’t the same thing as one issued in the spring or summer, when such weather heads-ups are usually triggered by the threat of heavy downpours that drop several inches’ worth of rain in just a couple of hours.
“There’s a potential for flooding in typically flood-prone areas, but in the wintertime the vegetation doesn’t suck up a lot of the rain that falls, so you tend to get a lot of runoff,” Ryan says. “We see some flood events with these events in the cool season. It’ll be a gradual event, but low-lying creeks and streams may begin to flood” the longer the showers and storms linger.
With the cloud cover and coming rain, don’t expect highs to reach much higher than the current temperature: 48. It may rise after midnight and hit the mid-50s tomorrow. After that: 60s on Thursday, and mid-70s on Friday — when you may want to take an early spring-break day before another cold front Saturday drops us back below freezing with a 20-percent chance of rain.
“But it’ll be a quick in-and-out cold front,” says Ryan. “If we do see rain Saturday, it won’t last long.”