Dallas area hit by flash floods; videos show highway partly underwater

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Flash flooding hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area overnight Monday through Monday, with flooded roads requiring rescue efforts as abandoned cars floated through the flooded streets. In some areas, rainfall totals would be considered a 1,000-year flood.

Rain continues to fall in and around Dallas; some rain gauges in the area have recorded over 10 inches so far. A record 3.01 inches of rain was also recorded in an hour at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The National Weather Service in Fort Worth warned of the continuing risk of “life-threatening flash floods.” extend its flash flood warning in and around Dallas County until 1 p.m. Central Time. According to the warning, at least 10 inches of rain fell, with 2 to 4 inches still to come. The risk of flood damage is “considerable”, he said, warning residents not to drive on flooded roads and to move to higher ground immediately. Flash flood warnings were also issued for Fort Worth and Canton, Texas.

The downpour marked the last such flooding to occur in recent weeks across the United States. In a single week, three 1 in 1,000 year rainfall events occurred, flooding St. Louis, eastern Kentucky and southeastern Illinois. Although controversial, the term is used to describe a rainfall event that is expected once every 1,000 years, meaning it has only a 0.1% chance of occurring in any given year. .

Human-caused climate change has been found to increase the frequency of such heavy rainfall events – a warmer atmosphere, able to hold more moisture, can produce heavier rainfall. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report 2022the rate of extreme precipitation events that cause severe flooding is expected to increase in the future.

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Fox Weather reporter Robert Ray, who was reporting on the Dallas flooding, found fleeing a woman who accidentally drove into a flooded intersection.

“She literally, as I was standing here setting up the shot, guys, stopped and didn’t realize it,” Ray told Fox Weather. “The next thing you know, his car was floating. So I went over there and tried to push his vehicle as best I could.

Several water rescues were underway Monday in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. As of 8 a.m. local time, Dallas Fire and Rescue had responded to 141 water-related emergencies, according to Jennifer J. Moreno, spokeswoman for the city’s emergency management office.. As of 10 a.m., the Fort Worth Fire Department was responding to 25 high seas rescue calls, and Dallas police were responding to an additional 43 “high seas calls”.

Harris County, Texas meteorologist Jeff Lindner noted on twitter this weather gauge recorded nearly 40% of its typical annual precipitation in just 12 hours.

Later Monday morning, that same gauge recorded over 14.9 inches of rain, still in 12 hours.

Such rainfall rates are nearly impossible for soils – let alone impermeable paved surfaces – to absorb without runoff that can cause flash flooding.

Water levels on the Trinity River in Dallas are expected to enter minor flooding Monday through Tuesday. Floods are also performing in Balch Springsa Dallas suburb where an early summer grass fire damaged more than two dozen homes.

A communications outage caused by a Verizon line problem prevented the National Weather Service from issuing warnings from the Fort Worth office, the NWS confirmed to The Washington Post, although the office said it always works closely with partner offices to keep abreast of flooding.

“As Verizon works to resolve the issue, the long- and near-term forecasts and warnings for the Dallas-Ft. Worth area continue to operate uninterrupted, with services backed up by our forecasting offices in Nashville, Tennessee, and Norman, Oklahoma,” said Susan Buchanan, director of public affairs for the NWS.

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After the torrential rains leave the Dallas area, they expect to continue following Interstate 20 to areas such as Shreveport, Louisiana. The National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center has issued a moderate risk of excessive precipitation for northeast Texas and northwest Louisiana. , with 3 to 5 inches of rain expected in the region and rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour possible.

More excessive rain is expected on Tuesday, with the moderate risk of heavy rain spreading further into northern Louisiana into parts of Alabama.

Prior to Monday’s intense rains, the Dallas-Fort Worth area was in the midst of a major drought. All of Dallas County has experienced at least one extreme drought in the past three months, according to the US Drought Monitor.

At one point, Dallas experienced dozens of days above 100 degrees and 67 straight days without any rain, a streak that was finally broken on August 9. Now, in a shocking reversal, this August is likely to be Dallas’ wettest since 1899, Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore noted on Twitter.

Cities across Texas has seen near-record temperatures and drought last month, causing serious rainfall deficits. But heavy rains over parts of the state through Monday may not bring enough relief, the NWS warned.

The heavy rains across Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma come from extreme moisture overlap and a strong trigger mechanism.

Over the weekend, a disappointing tropical system landed in northern Tamaulipas, Mexico with relatively little fanfare. Its direct impacts were minimal, but it carried an air mass ashore filled with deep tropical moisture. PWATs, or Precipitable Water Indexes – a measure of the amount of moisture present in a column of air from the bottom to the top of the atmosphere – approach a remarkable three inches.

This is air blowing northward in thunderstorms and turning into heavy showers along a stationary front. The front is draped west to east near the Red River from Oklahoma toward the Arkansas-Louisiana border. A wave of low pressure forming along the front and spreading eastward will further reinforce these showers. Some locations will also see low-end tornado risk.

When flooding hit the Dallas area, parts of North Central and Northeast Texas were under flood watch – an alert level that is under flood warnings – through noon central time Monday, including Dallas, Rockwall and Delta counties. The NWS warned of “total rainfall of 2 to 5 inches, with isolated amounts exceeding 8 inches.”

Local media and reporters shared videos of a water rescue on a flooded highway in the Dallas area. People were swimming in troubled floodwaters, their abandoned vehicles on the side of the roads with their ringing alarms.

Matthew Cappucci contributed to this report.

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