The key word in the wake of Tropical Storm Bill was deluge. I came to work the morning it was supposed to hit. The storm decided to hang out off the coast for another 5-6 hours. In that time, the storm moved west. The storm did indeed bulls-eye where I work. Nothing crazy on the wind, so not really any damage to speak of. But we got all the rain. It is estimated that 13.5″ of rain fell around the area of the office. My route back home was closed off by 10am. The office closed at 1pm. I left then. I was planning on leaving at 3pm originally had the office not closed. I had to drive west, then north, then back around to home. They closed off several stretches of the route I took within an hour of me going through. My total drive time was 2.5 hours. Then it took me an hour each way the next day on top of working late.
Now the ground is drying out. Maybe it will stay that way for a little bit.
The last time a tropical disturbance hit the Texas coast was nearly 10 years ago. Check Wikipedia and other article sources for a little storm named Ike back in 2008. I remember it quite well because I was working in television at the time. We were broadcasting pictures from helicopters hovering above Houston. They issued evacuation orders (probably later than they should have) and all of the hurricane evacuation paths were jam-packed with cars. Traffic was at a standstill. We were hearing stories of people running out of gas waiting for traffic to move. I found out later that one of my aunt and uncles that live in a town south of Houston ended up being one of those that ran out of gas. This was also the second of a one-two punch that year. Gustav had made landfall only 12 days prior.
The one tropical system I’ve personally experienced prior to now is Hurricane Chantal back in 1989. However, it was a tropical storm by the time I experienced it. The storm actually formed similar to how this week’s did. It spun up just north of the Yucatan peninsula. It was a category 1 hurricane by the time it made landfall. I was 8 years old and visiting my grandparents at the time. I remember being upset that I couldn’t go outside because it was raining so heavily and the winds were blowing so hard. However, when it was over, I was ecstatic. Then my bubble was burst 12 hours later when I found out that the eye of the storm was just passing through.
So, by morning, Tropical Storm Bill will be kicking our tail. I will likely be heading for work right after the storm makes landfall. We’ll see how the conditions are. The funny thing is, the National Weather Service Hurricane Center is putting the forecast track for the eye to make landfall and push right up through Ganado dead on. With the cone of uncertainty built in to the forecast, that may not necessarily hold on, but it is an interesting though. I’ll be interested to see if I can even make it to work or not. The one thing that they have been saying with this storm is to expect probably 20-25 hours straight of rain. It will be interesting to see what the rainfall rate is, because the entire region is just starting to recover from historic flooding just last month!