While the record rains of May were welcomed by most Texas farmers and ranchers after years of severe drought, what many say started as a blessing is quickly turning into a disaster.
In May, the wettest month on record in the Lone Star State, an estimated 35 trillion gallons of water fell, enough rain to cover the state in nearly 8 inches of water.
But just as farmers and ranchers were breathing easier after the largest monthly accumulation of rain brought an abrupt end to years of exceptionally dry weather, concerns are now escalating as heavy June rains spawned by Tropical Storm Bill continue to mount, bringing an additional 8-12 inches of rain to parts of Southeast Texas over a 24 hour period.
TS Bill made landfall along the Texas coast between Houston and Corpus Christi Tuesday ravaging the coast with 60 MPH winds and drenching already rain-soaked soils with as much 11.96 inches reported just west of El Campo in Wharton County and 11.77 inches near Ganado, Texas.
Other significant rainfall totals were reported Tuesday and again on Wednesday as a tropical moisture-laden atmosphere continued to generate thunderstorms that drenched a wide path from the coast north into Oklahoma by Wednesday night.
A flash flood emergency was issued by the National Weather Service for the Alice, Texas, area on Wednesday evening. Many people were reportedly trapped in vehicles and rescues were underway. A hefty 8.26 inches of rain fell in a two hour period in and around Alice. Parts of Nueces and San Patricio Counties reported as much as 8 inches of rain Wednesday causing flooded streets and a number of water rescues across the Coastal Bend.
In Austin nearly 7 inches of rain had fallen by Wednesday evening and southbound lanes of Interstate 45 at Corsicana were closed as a result of flooding across the highway. According to a National Weather Service, parts of Interstate 35 were also closed due to flooding near San Antonio Wednesday evening.
Heavy thunderstorms and serious flooding were reported as far north as Fort Worth and Dallas Wednesday afternoon and road flooding was reported in southern Oklahoma, including Ardmore and Duncan. Four to 8 inches of rain had fallen near Norman, Oklahoma by late Wednesday and the forecast was calling for continuing storms throughout the night and into Thursday.
Unofficially, parts of the Texas Coastal Bend have received in excess of 38 inches of rain so far this year. Similar records are being reported in other areas of the state.
Farmers and ranchers across south and Southeast Texas are reporting poor crop conditions as a result of wet fields and many say their fields remain fallow after the record rains that were experienced last month.