Heavy Rainfall Leads to Flooding in Dallas County

Storms slammed into North Texas and dumped rain across the Metroplex, prompting flood warnings in Dallas County on Thursday.

Parts of Dallas County saw nearly 6 to 8 inches of rain. North Oak Cliff saw 7.73 inches of rain, while Fair Park got 8.07 inches and Lancaster was drenched by 8.17 inches.

While some storms may develop in the Dallas-Fort Worth area later Thursday night, the bulk of the storms will pass well to the south of the Metroplex, meteorologist David Finfrock said.

Firefighters used boats to rescue people trapped in West Dallas neighborhoods by high water after lightning struck a Trinity River levee pump.

Dallas Fire Rescue had participated in 48 water rescues by 7:30 a.m., the city said.

A flood warning for Dallas County expired at 7 p.m., but a river flood warning for the Trinity River is in effect until Saturday evening. The National Weather Service said the river will continue to rise to a crest near 39 feet by Friday morning. At 38 feet, moderate flooding above and below the Commerce Street Bridge can be expected.

Dallas urged people to call 311 for non-emergency situations such as downed trees or signal lights that are out.

In east Dallas County, flood waters from swollen creeks also rushed into neighborhoods.

One Balch Springs family said their neighborhood flooded for the third time in less than two years. Theo St. Amant said his family moved to Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

"I moved to Texas to get away from it, and I'm right back in it," he said.

The Red Cross set up shelters for people who were forced out of their homes by flood waters. Volunteers have food, water and supplies for people who need help.

The marina at Eagle Mountain Lake in Fort Worth sustained millions of dollars worth of damage and was closed.

The storms also knocked out power to some 260,000 customers across North Texas. Oncor had restored power to 150,000 people after Wednesday night's storms, but lightning strikes Thursday caused additional outages. Repair crews were being brought in from outside the area, but each storm has forced the crews to suspend their work.

Wednesday's storms spawned at least one tornado that touched down in Flower Mound.

The National Weather Service is surveying damage in Flower Mound to determine the strength of the tornado. Downed trees, damaged roofs and toppled playground equipment littered several Flower Mound neighborhoods.

Jen Schaumburg said one tree fell on her roof, while another one destroyed her family's fence.

"It sounded like a very large crash. We didn't know if it was coming through the windows," Schaumburg said.

She said she was putting her 8-month-old son to bed at the time.
"I came flying down those stairs with a baby in tow just as quickly as I could to take cover. And there was no time," Schaumburg  said. "They say in Texas, you have 10 seconds. There was 10 seconds."

High water rescues were reported in Mesquite, Dallas and Garland, where rescuers pulled a 12-year-old girl to safety from swift waters in Duck Creek shortly after 10 p.m. Wednesday.

More than 420 flights were canceled Thursday at Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport and at Dallas Love Field, where Southwest Airlines is based.

Storms with wind gusts of up to 72 mph developed Wednesday night in West Texas and quickly moved through the state. They swept through Eagle Mountain Lake, Southlake, Flower Mound, Lewisville, Carrollton and then Plano before moving out of the Metroplex. There were no reports of injuries, but several neighborhoods were damaged.

Vivid lightning was suspected in at least one fire that destroyed a large, two-story house in the town of Heath on Lake Ray Hubbard near Dallas.

Red Cross teams were assessing damage in Flower Mound, as well as Dallas, Denton and Collin counties. In Tarrant County, the Red Cross was assisting residents in damaged apartment complexes in Euless and Arlington.

Families who have been displaced by their home's structural damage should call the Red Cross at 214-678-4800.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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