In the past couple of days, parts of Texas have seen downpours that few would have imagined in the middle of a historic statewide drought – rains that have been deadly and destructive, and have set new records in parts of the state. In flooded Seagoville, emergency teams rescued entire families with children amid cars drifting in high water, submerged homes and streets that could only be distinguished by their signs poking up above water level.
In Dallas County – where a state of emergency has been declared – a 60-year-old driver was killed when her car was swept away in floodwaters, officials reported. Over the course of 24 hours, Dallas Fire and Rescue responded to nearly 200 vehicle emergencies, including drivers trapped in their cars; across parts of North Texas and the Metroplex area in particular, there were reports of apartments flooding with up to two feet of water.
Power outages at DFW International Airport spurred flight cancellations there and delays at major airports elsewhere in Texas creating snafus for travelers that rippled across the system. And record rainfall amounts in the Texas capital city shut down secondary roads, delayed school buses and created flash flooding along major arteries, snarling afternoon traffic.
Keith White, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in New Braunfels, shared some stats from areas that saw the heaviest rainfall in the span of 24 hours:
– The vast majority of the Dallas-Fort Worth area saw anywhere from 4 to more than 9 inches.
– The highest rainfall total in East Dallas came in at 15.1 inches Monday.
– DFW airport had 9.19 inches between Sunday and Monday – the second-highest 24-hour total on record at DFW, the highest being 9.57 inches in September 1932.
– Austin saw flash flooding associated with 2 to 5 inches of rain on Monday afternoon.
“Additional areas scattered across the state received anywhere from about an inch to 2 inches with, of course, some locations seeing less than that,” White said. “But there will be at least some remaining chances for scattered showers and thunderstorms here in South Central Texas and in East Texas over the next few days.”
It could take some time for floodwaters in North Texas to completely recede, as there are several flood warnings, mainly on the Trinity River to the south and southeast of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“Those floodwaters will work their way through the river systems, you know, slowly over the course of the next couple of days,” White said. “Hard to say exactly, you know, when all of the flooding will be completely over. But for the most part, you know, the worst impacts will likely be receding after today.”
And as for the rest of this week, there could still be some lingering scattered showers and thunderstorms into the weekend, but most of the risk for locally heavy rain and flooding will gradually recede each day, White said.
“So we will still hold on to a flood watch here in South Central Texas until midday tomorrow, although we’ll be re-evaluating the forecast over the next 12 to 24 hours,” White said. “We don’t expect coverage of the heavy rains or the intensity of them to be quite as bad as what Austin and DFW saw yesterday. But the potential is still there for some areas to see enhanced rainfall rates leading to minor, you know, localized flooding issues, at least for today into tomorrow.”
White also expects some improvements to the drought monitor, which will be issued on Thursday.
“Not everyone will see the improvements they were looking for. Obviously, some locations have missed out on the more appreciable rainfall totals,” White said. “But, you know, many areas will see some relatively significant improvements, and those will be welcome. You know, unfortunately for some that did come with flooding, but for most areas of Texas, outside of DFW and Austin, just some really beneficial rainfall.”