More than 450 requests for high-water rescues had been made by noon on Monday, and dozens of them were in progress as greater Dallas faced the danger of additional floods brought on by sudden storms driven by the climate catastrophe that had already shocked areas of Texas experiencing “flash dry.”
The National Weather Service reported that flood warnings for Dallas and Tarrant counties are still in effect as of Monday at 4 p.m. CT (5 p.m. ET). The warnings emphasize that flooding of flood-prone areas, including rivers and streams, is either taking place or is about to take place, and they apply to more than 4 million Texans in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington.
The Fort Worth Fire Department, Dallas Fire-Rescue, and Dallas Police Department have all responded to rescue calls, and hundreds of traffic accidents have also been reported, the departments announced via social media and spokespeople.
The same system that wreaked torrential rain and flash floods this weekend in areas of the Southwest is now issuing flood watches for almost 15 million people from northeastern Texas through northern Louisiana and far southern Arkansas.
According to the National Weather Service, parts of Dallas received over 10 inches of rain between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning—enough rain to cover an entire summer. On average, that pace is only anticipated once per 100 years. According to estimates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Dallas also received more than 3 inches of rain in only one hour of rain overnight, which is roughly a rainfall rate of 1 in 50 years.
Brittany Taylor, who had only moved into her Dallas apartment two days prior to Monday morning’s floods that destroyed the majority of her stuff, said, “I’ve never experienced anything like this in my entire life.”
Taylor told CNN that she was awakened by the sound of torrential rain at three in the morning and was unable to go back to sleep because of the sound of leaking.
A lot of my possessions started smashing into the sea as all the cardboard boxes started crumbling. She stated, “I lost a lot of my belongings, and my renter’s insurance doesn’t cover flood losses.
Around 3 in the morning, fast-rising water stranded motorists on Dallas’ Interstate 30, according to Cassondra. Anna Mae Stewart, who recorded the gloomy, wet sight.
To exit the freeway, she was able to reverse up on a ramp, she claimed. Despite the fact that most of the streets there are also flooded, I took a different way home.
According to a flash flood warning statement sent at 3:21 a.m., “trained weather spotters reported heavy flash flooding ongoing across Dallas with multiple roadways and cars swamped, including Interstate 30 at Interstate 45 near downtown Dallas.”
In areas that already received 10 inches of rain between noon Sunday and noon Monday, two to four more inches of rain are expected by midafternoon Monday, according to radar and rain gauge readings. The Weather Prediction Center issued a warning: “Additional flash flooding in the local Dallas/Fort Worth area may result in life-threatening flash flooding.”
Before the event finishes, some locations may see a foot or more of rain in 24 hours, lowering the frequency to the 1-in-500-year level.
Austin, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana are two additional significant cities in the flood alert area for Monday. The chance of excessive rainfall in the area is moderate (Level 3 of 4). Storms have been moving slowly through the area, resulting in rainfall rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour, with a potential rainfall range of 3 to 5 inches.
‘Climate whiplash’ symptoms
The flooding in the Dallas area coincides with a “flash drought” that has spread over Texas during this exceptionally dry year. More than a fifth of the state is in the most severe category of drought, which covers Dallas and Tarrant counties.
The Drought Monitor summary on Thursday stated that “during the last half-year, areas of central Texas near and south of Dallas/Ft. Worth to the Gulf Coast have had rainfall deficits of 8 inches to locally over a foot.”
But after Monday, Dallas’ rainfall deficits will almost entirely be made up, while other parts of Texas will still have significant deficits.
This type of weather whiplash, in which there can be significant swings in periods of drought and excessive precipitation, has become more likely as a result of human-caused climate change.
Recent years have seen a greater proportion of precipitation fall during “intense single-day occurrences,” and experts predict that as the world warms, rapid changes from severe drought to heavy rain will become more frequent. In actuality, since 1996, nine of the top ten years for extreme one-day precipitation occurrences have taken place.
Since the 1980s, rainfall over land has increased in frequency and intensity with each degree of global warming. Because warmer air can store more water, storms like Hurricane Harvey, which struck Texas in 2017, can also deliver more powerful inland downpours in addition to storm surges and catastrophic winds.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area has had more than 7 inches of rain so far this month, making it the third wettest August on record for the region. This is the most rain that has fallen in a single month since 1915.
Following floods in the Southwest the day before, rain continued Sunday in certain areas of Arizona and New Mexico before the Texas storm.
Hikers in Utah’s Zion National Park were “blown off their feet” on Friday due to a flash flood. According to the park, search and rescue personnel were attempting to locate a missing hiker close to the Virgin River on Saturday.
According to a Facebook post from the City of Carlsbad in New Mexico, flash flooding on Saturday forced 160 people to spend several hours sheltering in place in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
The National Park Service said that the park was closed on Sunday. The National Park Service also stated that “maintenance staff will start to evaluate and clear debris from the roads.”
This report was contributed to by Monica Garrett, a meteorologist for CNN.
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