Houston Schools Close Ahead of TS Bill

(AP) -- 5:00 a.m. CDT

The Houston Independent School District is closing schools and offices as a precaution as Texas prepares for Tropical Storm Bill to make landfall.

School district officials say the heavy rainfall predicted for the area could make driving dangerous on Tuesday afternoon. Schools and offices are expected to re-open at their regular times Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Bill is expected to make landfall on the east coast between Baffin Bay, south of Corpus Christi, and High Island, up the coast from Galveston by Tuesday morning. The storm is expected to then move inland over the south-central part of the state.

The National Weather Service projects that North Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma could get up to 9 inches of rain over the next five days. Missouri could get more than 7.


3:50 a.m. CDT

The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Bill will probably not become stronger before it makes landfall in Texas.

The storm's maximum sustained winds remain near 50 mph and Bill is expected to weaken as its center moves inland on Tuesday.

The tropical storm is centered about 55 miles southeast of Port O'Connor, Texas, and is moving northwest at almost 13 mph.


1:30 a.m. CDT

Tropical Storm Bill is expected to make landfall in Texas by morning then move inland over the south-central part of the state.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said early Tuesday that Bill was centered about 95 miles southeast of Port O'Connor, Texas, and about 120 miles south-southwest of Galveston, Texas. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast of Texas from Baffin Bay to High Island.

Bill had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and was moving northwest at about 13 mph.

The center says some slight strengthening is possible before landfall, after which Bill is expected to weaken.

The storm was expected to produce rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches over eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma. Western Louisiana and western Arkansas could see 2 to 4 inches.


1 a.m. CDT

The eastern half of Texas is preparing for renewed flooding as Tropical Storm Bill approaches the Texas Gulf Coast.

The National Hurricane Center predicted the storm would make landfall Tuesday morning somewhere between Baffin Bay, south of Corpus Christi, and High Island, just up the coast from Galveston.

Galveston County officials already have directed voluntary evacuation of the low-lying Bolivar Peninsula, where Hurricane Ike wiped out most structures in 2008. School districts from Galveston to the Houston suburbs have canceled Tuesday's classes.

According to projections by the National Weather Service, parts of North Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma could get up to 9 inches of rain over the next five days, and Missouri could get more than 7.

The forecast follows historic rains and floods last month.

(KA)