Tropical Storm Bill, the second named storm of the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season, made landfall on Tuesday at Matagorda Island, which is between Houston and Corpus Christi in Texas. It slammed the southeast section of the Lone Star state with winds measured up to 60 mph and relentless heavy rain.
Rainfall totals, according to the NWS, averaged around 3 inches for most places, but some areas southwest of Houston saw much heavier precipitation. The cities of Ganado and El Campo received 11.77 inches and 9.91 inches, respectively. With the soil already saturated from a record wet May, there was widespread flash flooding. Luckily, no serious injures have been reported.
Moving inland toward Oklahoma, another state that experienced a record wet May, the storm was downgraded to a tropical depression on Wednesday. The rain, nonetheless, is ongoing. Looking ahead, the storm is forecast to travel northeast, riding a large ridge of high pressure situated over the southeastern states. The rainy remnants of Bill will likely arrive here in the NYC area by Sunday.
Given that this is an El Niño year – a time when the number of Atlantic hurricanes is usually below average – it is interesting to note that two named storms have already made landfall in the US this season. First Ana in May and now Bill. This shows that land-falling storms can occur even in “quiet” years and that it is important to be prepared throughout the hurricane season.