(CNN) — After torrential rains lashed parts of Northeast Texas, USA, causing flooding through streets and homes, rescue teams fanned out across the region on Monday, responding to hundreds of calls for help from stunned residents. sudden downpours.
Heavy rain and flash flooding brought record rainfall to the Dallas-Forth Worth area between Sunday and Monday afternoon, according to the Weather Service. Fort Worth National. More than 9 inches of rain fell at Dallas Forth Worth Airport during a 24-hour period beginning Sunday, marking the highest rainfall in that period the area has seen since 1932, the agency said.
The main flood threat will begin to recede in the area Tuesday as the storms move east toward Louisiana and Mississippi. Parts of eastern and southeastern Texas are still at a slight risk of excessive rainfall on Tuesday.
Allen Thompson, a local business owner, told CNN affiliate KTVTthat the flooding was unlike anything he had seen in the time he lived in Balch Springs, a suburb of Dallas.
“I’ve been here 13 years, and this is by far the worst flood I’ve ever had,” Thompson said of Hickory Creek County, which runs through the city.
When he walked into his heavy equipment rental business Monday morning, three inches of water covered the floor. Within an hour, he told KTVT, the water had risen to about a foot. He said that he will have to close the store for about a week to assess and clean up the damage.
The Fort Worth Fire Department received 500 calls for service and conducted 174 water searches and rescues, the department tweeted. The Dallas Fire Department responded to 195 flooding incidents and rescued 21 people and 10 dogs, the agency said in a statement. Tweet.
Brittany Taylor moved into her Dallas apartment just two days before the flood. Much of her belongings were still packed in cardboard boxes, which were soaked by the water.
“The last thing I expected was to wake up and see my new apartment flooded,” he said. “Water was just gushing out the front door of the apartment. My refrigerator started floating.”
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins declared a state of disaster in the county on Monday and requested federal and state assistance to respond to the damage, he said in a statement. Tweet.
Jenkins also announced that an unidentified woman was killed when her vehicle was swept away by flood waters. Her car was “allegedly” washed off the road and found when the water receded, according to Mesquite Fire Department Chief Russell Wilson.
The relentless downpour drenched a region that has been under extreme drought in recent months. More than a quarter of Texas is under the highest drought designation, including the Dallas-Forth Worth area.
The same storm system battered parts of the Southwest over the weekend and continues to threaten parts of the region as an estimated 9 million people across the South are under a flood watch Tuesday.
Drivers forced to abandon cars due to flooding
The overwhelming level of water caught many residents by surprise as it rushed into homes and onto roads. Several local authorities on Monday urged residents not to drive into high water as streets were flooded.
The Dallas Police Department alerted residents to numerous road closures in a tweet Monday afternoon, adding that water “was still standing on some roads, along with debris and abandoned cars.”
In downtown Dallas, Cassondra Anna Mae Stewart was driving home at 3 a.m. when she noticed Interstate 30 had started to fill with water, she told CNN. Videos she took of the scene show water rippling past the car’s wheels as rain continued to pour down onto the road.
“I was able to back up a ramp to get off the road,” he said. “I took an alternate route home…although most of the streets are also flooded.”
Hundreds of traffic accidents were reported during the flood, according to Dallas police.
Traffic through Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was also hit hard, with hundreds of flights to and from the airport canceled and about half of its outbound flights delayed, according to tracking website FlightAware.
The heavy inflow of water caused sanitary sewers to overflow in several places in Dallas, the city said in a statement Monday, noting that the city’s water system has not been affected.
“None of the diluted sewage overflows have affected the City’s water supply,” said Dallas Water Utilities Department Deputy Director Zachary Peoples.
The city recommends that some people in the affected areas use boiled or distilled water.
rain vs. rain drought
The flash rains come amid a “flash drought,” which has led to an exceptionally dry year across parts of Texas, including areas affected by this week’s flooding.
In the first half of the year, areas of the state have experienced rainfall deficits of between 3 and 10 inches, according to the Drought Monitor. But those shortfalls will essentially be erased in Dallas due to flooding, while other areas will still experience them, the agency said. In less than 24 hours between Sunday and Monday, Dallas had received an entire summer’s worth of rainfall: more than 7 inches.
The frequency and intensity of rainfall over land have increased with every degree of global warming since the 1980s.
A large part of the precipitation in recent years has occurred during “intense single-day events”, which scientists say will become more common due to the climate crisis, along with sudden changes from severe drought to heavy rain.
— CNN’s Brandon Miller, Caitlin Kaiser, Caroll Alvarado, Ross Levitt, Payton Major, Angela Fritz, Alisha Ebrahimji and Jennifer Henderson contributed to this report.