Rain causes local flooding

Heavy rain this morning has produced both smiles and headaches for Howard County residents.A confluence of three storm systems has produced heavy rainfall throughout the county and the Permian Basin early today. Midland-Odessa International Airport recorded three inches of rain since 1 a.m. today, while Big Spring Airport unofficially received two inches of precipitation as of 9 this morning.Douglas Cain, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service station in Midland, said remnants of Pacific Hurricane Miriam converged with an upper-level disturbance and a weak surface front to produce today's downpour.The storms, which showed no signs of slackening as of mid-morning, were expected to taper off in the afternoon, but could redevelop this evening. For that reason, NWS has extended a flash flood watch through tonight for an area of West Texas including Howard County, Cain said.While welcome in drought-stricken West Texas, the rain have caused havoc on roadways and have city and school officials seriously considering cancellation of planned activities.Big Spring police and Howard County deputies responded to several stranded motorist calls today and low-lying roadways throughout the area were being blocked off because of rising water levels.Midland Independent School District cancelled classes and extra-curricular activities today because of the heavy rain, but Howard County school systems are operating on normal schedules — so far.The only problem Big Spring ISD officials have experienced today is that several buses ran late because of the weather and two stops in outlying portions of the district were cancelled.Other than that, it is business as usual for the school district, said Wayland Pierce, BSISD transportation director.“I'm not predicting anything other than a regular schedule today,” Pierce said.The news was the same at Forsan ISD — officials said no schedule adjustments were made because of weather.At Coahoma, however, where several activities are planned tonight for homecoming, officials were monitoring weather conditions closely, said Administration Secretary Judy Dobbs.Rains have forced the Big Spring Senior Center to close today.The Howard County Fair will open tonight as scheduled, although outdoor events such as the ranch rodeo and square dance have been cancelled. The fair's carnival will open if weather allows, fair officials said.