The state of Texas is placed under a tornado watch as Tropical Strom Bill moved further inward bringing torrential rains and strong winds Wednesday, turning streets into lakes and killing one person.
The National Hurricane Center downgraded the storm to a tropical depression after Bill lost much of its power, according to Benchmark Reporter. Bill is the second tropical storm to hit this 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. Last month, 30 people were killed in the state from severe weather.
The U.S. National Weather Service said the storm slammed into the town of Matagorda at around 11:45 am CDT and unleashed its power. Weathermen forecasted Bill to bring between two and four inches of rain in an area stretching from Texas toward Indiana. It said some areas might experience up to 12 inches of rain because of the storm.
Bill is currently moving north at a speed of 13mph towards the Dallas-Forth Worth metro area, said the NHC.
Authorities are not expecting major damages to infrastructure because of Bill and said residents could expect uninterrupted power supply as the South Texas Nuclear Generating Station and local refineries were operating as normal despite the storm.
The NWS said Bill was packing sustained winds of up to 60mph although the agency recorded wind gust on land of up to 63 mph on the Bolivar Peninsula at the Crab Lake mesonet site.
The storm has cancelled over 300 flights at the two airports in Houston, said FlightAware.com.
At a news conference, Houston Mayor Annise Parker allayed concerns of residents, although weather forecasters warned of possible tornadoes on the horizon.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott advised Texans to stay alert and warned that the dangers of the storm have not yet passed. "This event is not over. There will be a lot of rainfall that will still come. There could be some potential tornadoes," he said.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, the heavy rains brought by Bill had shut down roads and halted traffic in the Houston and Dallas Area. The NWS also issued a flash-flood watch the Texas coast into Illinois, affecting more than 20 million people.
On Wednesday, a 62-year-old woman was killed when she lost control of her car while driving on a rain-soaked highway near the central town of West.
A 10-year-old boy was rushed to the hospital and is now in critical condition after sustaining injuries after floodwaters swept him in Nolanville near Fort Hood. Rescue workers who rushed to the scene found the boy pinned in a flooded retention pond.
Emergency management officials in Texas also issued warnings that water levels along the rivers could rise because of the heavy rains.
Kent Prochazka, a meteorologist for the NWS near Houston, warned that rising rivers remain a major concern even if Bill's power has substantially decreased, said The Ledger Independent.
"We probably are not going to see any magnitude where it's going to be critical, life-threatening or 'Take your babies and run,'" Prochazka said.