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


Flash floods struck the Dallas-Fort Worth area overnight into Monday, sparking rescue efforts as roads flooded and abandoned cars floated away in striking footage shared on social media.

The National Weather Service in Fort Worth extended its flash flood warning in and around Dallas County until 10 a.m. Central time, warning of a continued risk for “life-threatening flash flooding.” The office said up to 8 inches of rain had fallen in the hard-hit area, with more rainfall still to come.

The risk of damage from the floods was “considerable,” it said, warning residents not to drive on flooded roads and to move immediately to higher ground. Flash flood warnings have also been issued for Fort Worth and Canton, Texas.

Before today’s intense rainfall, the Dallas-Fort Worth area was in the midst of a substantial drought. All of Dallas County has been experiencing at least extreme drought for the past three months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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

The extremely dry ground, along with the rapid rate of rainfall, combined to trigger widespread flooding. Droughts harden topsoils, making them struggle to absorb heavy precipitation.

When flooding struck the Dallas area, parts of north central and northeast Texas were under flood watches — an alert level that is below flood warnings — until noon Central time Monday, including Dallas, Rockwall and Delta counties. The NWS warned of “rainfall totals of 2 to 5 inches, with isolated amounts in excess of 8 inches.”

Local news outlets and reporters shared videos of a water rescue on a flooded highway in the Dallas area, with people swimming in murky floodwaters while their vehicles lie abandoned on the sides of roads with their alarms blaring.

The NWS warned of the potential of “life-threatening flash flooding of creeks and streams, urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses” across the area subject to a flood watch, which includes major cities such as Plano and Fort Worth.

The agency had warned that flooding was possible early this week if “heavy rainfall on dry soil” produced runoff.

Cities across Texas experienced near-record-high temperatures and dryness last month, causing serious precipitation deficits. But the heavy rainfall over parts of the state into Monday may not bring enough relief, the NWS warned.

In its forecast for Monday, the NWS predicted additional “showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 4 p.m.” There was a 100 percent chance of precipitation throughout the day, and it said new rainfall could add up to 1 inch of water, while “some of the storms could produce heavy rain.”

The weather was expected to improve toward the end of the week, according to the agency, with the highest chance of renewed thunderstorms on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Matthew Cappucci contributed to this report.

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