A thunderstorm system hung over Orange County “just dumping copious amounts of rainfall” with about 9.25 inches in the central area, said National Weather Service Meterologist Donald Jones from the Lake Charles bureau.
Jones said the Southeast Texas area can expect “significantly more rainfall in the next few days.”
Lighter rains, though with a chance of isolated heavy rainfall, are forecast for Friday. A system moving over Central Texas and will move into Southeast Texas Saturday bringing the possibility of another half foot of rain in spots.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, Cow Bayou at Mauriceville and at FM 1446 in Orangefield had jumped over the minor flood stages. Adams Bayou at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange was also in the minor flood stage.
Cow Bayou at Highway 87 in Bridge City and Adams Bayou at MacArthur Drive in Orange were below flood level. The Sabine River gauges in Orange County and in Deweyville were below flood level.
The Thursday thunderstorm dropped three to four inches within an hour in the early afternoon and circled back. Frequent lightning strikes were reported and winds blew 15 to 20 miles per hour with 30 mph gusts. KOGT’s Gary Stelly video recorded a small twister coming out and then rising back from thunder clouds moving in a circular direction.
Entergy reported 34 outages affecting about 1,000 customers across the county. They were still without power as of this post at 9pm.
The McLewis area along Interstate 10 and spots of Orangefield northward to south of Mauriceville had the heaviest rainfall with more than nine inches. The McLewis area south of Interstate 10 along Highway 62 also had the largest power outage.
Other areas of the county received six to eight inches. Reports came that several houses flooded. Cars flooded and stalled on roadways, especially in the area of Interstate 10 by Highway 62, and along FM 1038.
Trampolines USA off Interstate 10 westbound in McLewis also reported flooding inside the building.
The Sabine River Authority gauge at Pier Road along the river off Simmons Drive had nearly five inches of rain. Water ran over the banks of Cooper’s Gully at the river where the city of Orange’s only pumping station operates. The river was a foot below flood stage, so the pumps could send the water into the river.
Meteorologist Jones said the rain Friday afternoon should bring light rains of a quarter to a half inch of rain. But a system could stay over an area like the one Thursday. “Anywhere that sees a storm park” has the potential for “significantly more,” he said.
The storm Saturday will come ahead of another cold front, unusual for the middle of May, he said. Predictions now have that storm bringing two to three inches of rain across Southeast Texas. Jones said predictions first thought it could drop up to a foot in isolated areas, but patterns now indicate up to four to six inches in areas.