Heavy Rain, Flooding Leads to Water Rescues Thursday Morning

Parts of North Texas are still recovering from a massive rainstorm that flooded a number of roadways and prompted several water rescues Thursday.

NBC 5 Chief Meteorologist David Finfrock said the heaviest rain had ended by Thursday afternoon, while light showers would continue through the afternoon, the biggest threat for flooding would be along rain-swollen creeks and rivers where runoff from the morning downpours would continue to flow downstream.

In Cooke County, Valley View received nearly 11 inches of rain, according to NBC 5 Chief Meteorologist David Finfrock. Southbound Interstate 35 in the Valley View area was closed for about 5 hours Thursday morning due to flash floods.

Cooke County emergency coordinator Ray Fletcher reports that about 25 to 30 drivers called 911 asking for help to get out of flooded, and or, stranded vehicles due to flash floods. First responders and firefighters had to physically rescue eight to 10 people from their vehicles.

Valley View Police Chief Greg Adcock said he waded into chest high water to rescue stranded motorists from the roofs of their vehicles.

"It was pushing, you could feel it pushing and it was cold, a lot colder than you would expect," said Adcock.

"It's pretty amazing to see that much water move that quick," said David Robison, owner of Hats Off Towing.

Robison spent Thursday afternoon recovering cars swept away by flash floods. "The car started out in the left hand lane and when we picked it up, it was at the exit ramp," he said.

Businesses also took on water. Eva Wolfenbarger showed up to work at the Texaco off I-35 in Valley View to find it flooded. "It was really shocking because that's not what you expect to see and there was water everywhere," said Wolfenbarger.

Wolfenbarger says she started cleanup when she found out her niece who had just dropped her off got into trouble down the road. "Water just started coming in to the car and into the floor and once it started getting deeper," Wolfenbarger said. "She said 'I knew I had to get out.'"

Three people were taken to hospitals because of medical issues following a high water rescue, according to Fletcher. They were not injured in the rescue efforts, but had prior medical issues.

In the Denton County town of Sanger, some roads were still impassible Thursday afternoon. The Texas Department of Transportation said it would not reopen roads until it was safe to pass.

Finfrock said Alvord, located just north of Decatur, received almost 10 inches of rain, while the city of Denton received more than 4 and a half inches of rain.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch through 1 p.m. Friday for the Dallas-Fort Worth area and points north, including Denton, Gainesville, Sherman and Denison. 

He warned drivers to avoid high water over roadways. "We always seem to have those things happen and it never works out for the good," Dunn said.

The TxDOT urges drivers to use extreme caution when driving along roadways prone to flooding.

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NBC 5's Jeff Smith and Jocelyn Lockwood contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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