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.
Flood waters have receded in Deep Ellum. Cars, SUVs and a police cruiser are flooded out. Many still have alarms blaring. One woman says water was almost chest high on her, she had to swim to safety. I’ll have live update from #Dallas starting at 7am ET / 6am CT @accuweather 📺 pic.twitter.com/qwVKWJgXyp
— Bill Wadell (@BillWadell) August 22, 2022
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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