Thunderstorms drenched the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex Monday as a storm system brought a deluge of heavy rain that flooded roadways and submerged cars.
Emergency crews across the region had responded to hundreds of water-related emergencies by midday, though no deaths were immediately reported. But the flooding still wreaked havoc on the Monday morning commutes of thousands, including students across North Texas who recently started school.
Scattered showers and storms will gradually shift southward today as well as the highest flooding threat. Additional accumulations will be highest across Central Texas with additional flooding issues expected. Be safe and NEVER drive through flooded roadways! #dfwwx #ctxwx #txwx pic.twitter.com/GYWM03R4s1
— NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth) August 22, 2022
Parts of Dallas were forecasted to receive 8 inches of rain. In some areas, the rainfall far exceeded those expectations. One reading near South Dallas and Pleasant Grove captured more than 14 inches of rainfall over the past 24 hours, according to the Dallas Water Utility. Neighborhoods closer to downtown Dallas recorded more than 10 inches of rainfall.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Dallas County until 4 p.m. Monday. An earlier flash flood warning in Dallas County lapsed at 1 p.m. A flood watch remains in effect until 8 p.m. for parts of North Texas.
At least four people have been taken to hospitals due to weather-related incidents, according to Dallas Fire-Rescue. There are 50 traffic signals either without power or not properly working, the city’s transportation department said.
About 20 roads and bridges have been closed due to high water as of 11:30 a.m. including the Sylvan Avenue Bridge over the Trinity River, Dallas’ emergency management office director Rocky Vaz said. Police are stationed around at least 22 other impacted locations waiting for barricades from public works crews, Vaz said.
“I think we’ve seen the worst of it at this point,” Vaz said. “We don’t expect to see as much rainfall in the coming days. Hopefully everything will drain out before the end of the day and we’ll see what happens in the next couple of rounds of rain.”
Dallas police have responded to almost 470 traffic and water related calls since 6 p.m. Sunday, including 147 calls reporting people stuck in high water. A little more than 100 have been calls related to freeway accidents.
According to Dallas Fire-Rescue, crews have responded to 195 high-water incidents and 39 alerts for water rescues between 6 p.m. Sunday and about 1:30 p.m. Monday. Crews have used boats to get to some stranded drivers.
“If you’re going down a thoroughfare and see water building up, just turn around,” said Jason Evans, a Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman.
Areas around the Trinity River will remain under a flood warning until Tuesday morning, according to the weather service. Early Monday, the river had reached 18 feet in Dallas, a rapid rise from 12 feet Sunday. The river is forecast to rise to 34.3 feet by Monday evening, beyond the 30-foot flood stage indicating of minor flooding.
Flooding on Chestnut Street in Deep Ellum submerged at least eight cars. Nearby, several lanes of Interstate 30 were closed due to high water levels, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. In Mesquite, several abandoned cars were seen in tire-deep water near Scyene Road and Interstate 635.
Rawlins Gilliland woke early Monday morning and heard an unusual noise in his southeast Dallas home. It sounded like his new puppy, a Chihuahua-terrier mix, was splashing in water.
Confused, Gilliland, a retired poet and writer, stepped into his office to find it partially underwater.
”It’s like a wading pool,” Gilliland said. He spent the day sopping up water.
He added: ”This summer has been monstrous. It has just been a mean summer. And now this.”
Karen Cox watched nervously as floodwaters rose around her townhouse near the busy West 7th corridor in Fort Worth. Outside her front door, water blanketed the front steps. Cars once parked on the street, including her daughter’s, floated by.
”We had cars on the sidewalk, cars floating,” Cox said. “All of the cars created a little wake.”
The Fort Worth Police Department said they attended to more than 50 water-related emergency calls between 8 p.m. Sunday and 5 a.m. Monday. None of the calls included injuries or the loss of life, the police department said Monday morning.
Heavy rains also caused delays at local airports. Hundreds of incoming and outgoing flights at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field were delayed or canceled because of the thunderstorms.
The Dallas Zoo closed Monday afternoon. In a tweet, the zoo said all of its animals were safe but some walkways were flooded.
Despite some delays to bus routes, most classes at North Texas schools continued as scheduled. Officials with Dallas ISD warned parents that some buses may be late picking up students; Mesquite ISD stopped all buses, and will not resume routes until “road conditions improve.”
The rain won’t end anytime soon, according to meteorologists. Rain is expected in Dallas throughout the week, but the chances for showers diminish as the days go on. To make matters even more complicated, a “major comms outage” disrupted the local National Weather Service office’s ability to disseminate data.
“The good news is that NWS meteorologists are still receiving all radar data to make warning decisions,” the weather service said in a tweet. “We are able to communicate and transmit all warnings and product information through our backup offices.”
Heavy rainfall continues across portions of Dallas County tonight. Exercise caution if you’re driving, especially in low-lying or poor drainage areas, and NEVER attempt to drive through a flooded roadway! #TurnAroundDontDrown https://t.co/VxfmHd02ky
— NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth) August 22, 2022
Here’s the forecast for the rest of the week in Dallas:
Monday: Showers and thunderstorms, some capable of producing heavy rain, before 4 p.m. Rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible. High temperature is 82; low is 72.
Tuesday: A chance of showers, with thunderstorms possible after 10 a.m. Chance of rain is 50%. High temperature is 85; low is 72.
Wednesday: Slight chance of rain before 10 a.m., then chances of showers and thunderstorms between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Chance of rain is 20%. High temperature is 87; low is 72.
Thursday: Mostly sunny, with slight chance of showers and thunderstorms possible after 1 p.m. Chance of rain is 20%. High temperature is 89; low is 73.
Friday: Chance of showers after 1 p.m. High temperature is 92; low is 74.
Staff writer Isabella Volmert contributed to this report.
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