FM 71 west near the Hopkins/Hunt County line (above) is currently blocked due to flooding on the South Sulphur River, while the Sulphur Springs Lake spillway (right) on FM 2285 is flowing at full force due to recent rainfall totals which was made worse by last night's thunderstorm. But there is still more rain to come -- and it's not far away.
Staff Photo By Angela Pitts

Signs of Bad Weather

Forecasters issue flood warning for Sulphur River, and dangerous storms could move in this evening

From Staff Reports

April 9, 2008 - Near-record rainfall in March combined with more precipitation this month -- including more than 2 inches that fell this morning -- have caused flooding along the South Sulphur River, and more rain and possibly some severe storms are in the short-term forecast.

The National Weather Service this morning issued a flash flood warning for the South Sulphur River near Cooper, where the river's level had risen to 18.36 feet as of 8:15 a.m. today. The flood stage is at 16 feet.

The high water forced the closure of FM 71 west near the Hopkins/Hunt County line where the river serves as the dividing boundary.

The river is expected to crest near 19 feet this evening, but should fall below flood stage Thursday evening, the weather forecasters predict.

Meanwhile, other area reservoirs are filled to the brim and beyond. Cooper Lake, where normal elevation is 440 feet, is currently at 441.9 feet.

Lake Sulphur Springs has risen about one foot in the past week, with the level climbing almost six inches today after the 2.08 inches or precipitation fell between 2 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. this morning.

The month March saw the second-most the most precipitation for Sulphur Springs in the month of March in 18 years, and the second-highest total since World War II

Meanwhile, the weather forecast is calling for an 80 percent chance of rain tonight and Thursday, with a chance that the precipitation could be accompanied by severe storms.

The National Weather Service office in Fort Worth today reported a warm front was extending along a line from Sulphur Springs to Mesquite to Hillsboro and moving northward, with showers and storms expected to develop along the front this afternoon.

"Any thunderstorms that do develop will have the potential to quickly become severe," forecasters warned. "Residents should pay close attention to the evolving weather situation."

There is also a chance for tornadoes and other damaging weather conditions this evening as a powerful upper level storm system is moving toward North Texas. Forecasters caution that conditions this afternoon and evening will be favorable for the formation of tornadoes, and very large hail and damaging straight-line winds could accompany the storms.

Rainfall amounts of up to 4 inches are possible for the area, as well.

A line of severe storms is also expected to move through North Texas early Thursday, again bringing the potential for tornadoes, hail and damaging winds. The severe weather threat should be over by midday Thursday, however.

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