Ivan storms in local forecast


Eagle Staff Writer

AP photo/Scott Estinger/The Beaumont Enterprise

Crews blocked beach access points Thursday in High Island to keep Texas 87 from flooding as Tropical Storm Ivan approached.

Parts of Brazos County could be inundated with up to 10 inches of rain this weekend as Tropical Storm Ivan makes landfall and its remnants pass over the Bryan-College Station area, meteorologists said Thursday.

The warnings prompted Brazos County emergency management officials to begin preparing for possible flash floods, asking residents to stay off the roads this weekend and placing emergency rescuers on standby.

Tropical Storm Ivan hit Texas on Thursday evening. Its remnants were expected to pass over Bryan and College Station on Friday afternoon, bringing heavy rain, National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Moreland said.

The bad weather was predicted to continue through the weekend, with the majority of rainfall pounding Bryan and College Station on Friday and Saturday, Moreland said.

Between 2 and 4 inches of rain are predicted for most of the area, but up to 10 inches could be dumped on isolated areas of Brazos County, he said. It was unclear Thursday which areas might be subject to the most rain.

“Primarily, there’s gonna be a heavy rainfall threat,” Moreland said.

After ravaging the Florida and Alabama coastlines last week, Hurricane Ivan died out a few days ago, Moreland said. But part of it reformed into a tropical storm over the Gulf of Mexico — an action that Texas A&M University storm experts have described as “very unusual.”

Now that Ivan has regrouped, the tropical storm is aiming for the eastern third of Texas and is expected to drench cities including Galveston, Houston, Bryan, College Station and Lufkin, Moreland said.

“Friday night through Saturday morning, if you run a line through Galveston, Houston and College Station, that area probably is really going to get pounded,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Kent Prochazka.

The National Weather Service already has issued a flood watch in effect through Saturday for areas east of College Station, Moreland said. But Brazos County could be included in the watch after the rain starts, he said.

Demerle Giordano, Brazos County’s emergency management coordinator, said members of the Texas Task Force 1 swift water rescue team, Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter pilots and Brazos County law officers and firefighters have been placed on standby in preparation for flash flooding.

Members of the Texas Army National Guard and their specialized vehicles that can drive through water also have been placed on standby, Giordano said.

“What we’ll be doing here is monitoring for the flash flooding,” she said. “That’s where the real seriousness will come in for us. It doesn’t take long for the water to rise.”

If the weather worsens, Giordano said, the county could opt Friday to open its emergency operations center.

The county averages about three water rescues every time flash floods hit the area, Giordano said. That’s why, she said, she is encouraging drivers to stay indoors Friday and Saturday. Motorists should drive only if they absolutely have to, and no one should try to drive around roadblocks, she said.

Rescues are “very taxing to our resources, and it’s very dangerous for the people,” she said.

• Holly Huffman’s e-mail address is hhuffman@theeagle.com.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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