Fast-moving, heavy thunderstorms deluged the Metroplex Thursday morning, dropping up to 3 inches of rain and triggering flood advisories, flood warnings and swift water rescues of a group of children.
Dallas police said five kids between the ages of 12 and 13 skipped school Thursday and were playing in a drainage tunnel when Woody Branch Creek began to rise. The children were soon trapped struggling to keep from being carried away by the strong current.
"They played hooky from school and they walked through the creek. Today was not a good day to do it because of the rain." said Bernadette Willis, she saw the boys get swept away right behind her home.
Dallas Fire-Rescue said they were called to the location near the 300 block of Glen Oaks Boulevard and, after climbing down a steep embankment, spotted the children clinging onto whatever they could to keep from being carried away.
Using rescue boats and throw bags with rope, swift water rescuers were able to reach three of the children hanging onto the shore. A short time later, rescuers were able to reach the other two children on the other side of the shore.
NBC 5's crews were on the scene as the last of the five boys was pulled from the creek and loaded into an awaiting ambulance.
"They had to expend a lot of physical effort to get to where they got whenever we found them. This last victim, of course, he had been in the water the longest of the five and therefore expended the most energy," said Jason Evans.
After a two-hour rescue by firefighters, law enforcement and civilians, the kids were transported to Children's Medical Center in Dallas for evaluation.
"According to police officials, the children decided to skip school and hang out at a location approximately 100 to 150 yards upstream from where they were eventually rescued. It is unclear if they were swept in or if they were intending to be in the water before realizing how bad the conditions would get; but thankfully they were able to get themselves to some point of temporary refuge before the arrival of rescuers. Though extremely exhausted, they were all in stable condition and taken to a local hospital for further evaluation," fire officials said in a news release Thursday afternoon.
Nearly two inches of rain is reported to have fallen in the area near the creek in less than 45 minutes, causing the creek to rise quickly. Officials warn fast, heavy rain can pool quickly and fill creeks beyond their banks. Those who are out in the weather are advised to use extreme caution when close to pooling or rising water.
National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Fox said a half-inch of rain fell Thursday morning on North Texas, but Dallas and some suburbs such as Rockwall received up to 3 inches. More heavy rain and lighting is expected Thursday; hail and gusty winds remain possible.
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