More than 14 million people across the southern Plains, including the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex and Shreveport, Louisiana, were under flood watches and warnings Sunday after heavy rain and flash floods in parts of the Southwest this weekend.
Along the Texas–Oklahoma state line, heavy rain had already fallen, totaling between three and five inches. The watch area, which included Austin and Waco, was expected to receive an additional 4-8 inches of precipitation by Monday. Flash flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone areas is possible if rainfall totals exceed 8 inches in some areas.
The National Weather Service office in Fort Worth/Dallas issued a warning, “We do not know which areas will receive the 8+ inches of extreme rainfall, but if it does occur near you, significant flash flooding will result.”
The National Weather Service advised, “Everyone in the watch area should plan on extra commuting time, especially on Monday morning.”
The Weather Prediction Center has issued a Level 3 out of 4 “moderate risk” of excessive rainfall for much of northern Texas, where as much as 3 inches of rain per hour was expected during the heaviest storms on Sunday.
The center noted that while “much of this rainfall will be beneficial and welcome due to the effects of an ongoing drought,” flash flooding could still occur in urban areas and places with poor drainage.
Drought affects more than 90% of the state of Texas, with nearly 62% of that area experiencing extreme or exceptional drought.
In the later hours of Sunday, more areas in the vicinity may receive flood warnings.
Parts of Arizona and New Mexico continued to receive some precipitation on Sunday after flooding in the Southwest on Saturday.
A flash flood on Friday in Zion National Park, Utah, “swept off their feet” several hikers. On Saturday, the park announced that search and rescue workers were still looking for a missing hiker near the Virgin River.
According to a Facebook post from the City of Carlsbad, New Mexico, about 160 people were forced to take shelter in place for several hours at Carlsbad Caverns National Park on Saturday due to flash flooding.
According to the National Park Service, the park was closed on Sunday.
In addition, “Maintenance crews will begin to assess and clean debris from the roadway,” the National Park Service said.
Paradise Afshar and Raja Razek of CNN provided research assistance for this article.
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