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2 Dead After Storms Dump Up To 7 Inches Of Rain On North Texas

Update, Saturday morning: A second person has died in the Dallas area following Friday's storms and flooding.

Dallas police say a man's body was recovered from standing water Friday. The man hasn't been identified yet.

In Mesquite, a man drowned in his truck after it was swept into a culvert.

That brings the death toll to 29 people who've been killed in storms that began in Texas and Oklahoma over Memorial Day weekend — 25 in Texas alone.

Up to 7 inches of rain fell on North Texas Friday -- with more rain falling Saturday.

The National Weather Service says this is the wettest May ever for Dallas-Fort Worth. Through 8 a.m. Saturday, Dallas-Fort Worth had recorded 16.95 inches of rain in May -- smashing the May 1982 record of 13.66 inches. 

Update, Friday afternoon: Mesquite Fire Department Capt. Kelly Turner says first responders found the body of a man early Friday morning in his overturned truck, which was surrounded by floodwaters. He says the truck had been underwater for some time before they found it, and that authorities believe he was alone in the vehicle.

Turner says people stranded on two cars that were also swept off the road told responders about the truck. The driver's name wasn't released.

The recent storms have caused widespread flooding in the southern Plains, killing at least 21 people in Texas and four in Oklahoma. Texas has 14 missing people.

Meanwhile, Texas has set rainfall records in several areas. The National Weather Service said Friday that 16.07 inches of rain fell across the Dallas area in May. That easily eclipsed a 1982 record of 13.66. Austin similarly beat its May record for rainfall with 17.59 inches, besting a high of 14.10 inches that had stood since 1895.

Meteorologist Dennis Cain says other areas have set all-time recorded highs, such as Gainesville, near the Oklahoma border, and Corpus Christi, along the Gulf of Mexico. Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle is in its second-wettest month on record.

Credit Alan Melson / KERA News
Part of the Santa Fe Trestle Trail was submerged Friday.

An update on Loop 12

A crane removed a section of median on Loop 12 near Interstate 30 so trapped motorists could get off the roadway. The northbound lane had already been cleared.

Tony Hartzel with the Texas Department of Transportation said the southbound lanes were more challenging because streets where people could have exited were flooded as well.

He says they think that the area where the road usually drains to flooded as well, so there was nowhere for the water to go.

Elmer McGuire is a diesel mechanic in Oak Cliff. He was on his way to work to pick up his paycheck when cops closed an exit he needed to get on Loop 12.

He told KERA’s Bill Zeeble he had been stranded for three hours.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” he said. “I didn’t see nothing like this since Hurricane Katrina when I was watching it on TV so I mean it's weird, man.”

Helicopter rescues Sachse police officer

A Sachse police officer had to be rescued by helicopter after his SUV got trapped in rushing floodwaters while he was diverting traffic.

Sachse police spokesman Lt. Martin Cassidy says the rising floodwaters surrounded the officer Friday morning as he was directing traffic away from it.

He was stuck for about two hours. Dive teams first tried to get him out, but couldn't reach him. Eventually, a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter came to the rescue. He was harnessed and then lifted out of the water. He was carried high above the waters.

Update, 11:46 a.m.: Dallas city officials say the Office of Emergency Management has called the local chapter of the American Red Cross to try to help drivers stuck at Loop 12 and Interstate 30. The Texas Department of Transportation is also sending crews.

City officials say Northeast Dallas received 6.8 inches of rain overnight. Far South Dallas received the least amount of rain, at 1.5 inches.

The following Dallas streets are closed:

  • Elsie F Higgins & Junction      
  • Elsie F Higgins & Bruton         
  • Good Latimer; between Swiss & Live Oak      
  • W Lawther, between Go Forth and NW Hwy
  • 4100 E Overton
  • Go Forth and W Lawther
  • 4400 to 4600 Elsie F Higgens
  • 800 Plymouth

The city says barricades will be set up at on the right hand lanes on both sides of Northwest Highway at Buckner, as well as Duran at Northwest Highway and Mockingbird and Lawther.

Flooded Roadway warning signs are at the following locations:

  • 4700 Hatcher
  • Illinois at Linfield
  • Sargent at Southerland
  • Simpson Stuart at I-45
  • California Crossing at Luna
  • Goodnight at Walnut Hill
  • 9800 Inwood at Park
  • Luna at Y
  • Tantor at X
  • Wildwood at California Crossing
  • Goforth at Lanshire
  • 7400 Merriman Parkway
  • West Lawther at Northwest Highway
  • Peavy at Dixon Branch
  • 9200 White Rock Trail
  • 9500 Lake Highlands
  • Park Central at LBJ

The rain has flooded parks in Plano as well.
“Basically, all of our flood plains are flooded, all of our parks.” Rolando Carmona says. He does ground maintenance for Plano’s Parks & Recreation Department.

Video: Watch floodwaters seep into parking lot at the Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve

Plano resident Starla Burt came to Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve with a friend to take photos of the flooding. 

“I grew up here in this area, lived here all my life," she says. "I’ve seen this park flood before with just one day of rain, but I’ve never seen continuous days of rain like it’s been. It’s just crazy.” 

Katie Carter took her two kids – Mikey and Annie – to nearby Bob Woodruff Park, only to find that it was underwater. The Carters went to the park the day before to hunt for tadpoles in puddles.

“My kids play at this park all the time, there’s a path along here that we ride our bikes…there’s a pond out there, but it’s more like a lake now," Katie says. "The waterline came up past the park, so this has even receded some, so we’re pretty shocked.” 

Credit Stella M. Chávez / KERA News
Bob Woodruff Park in Plano is underwater.

West of Fort Worth, Parker County authorities say the Brazos River is rising again due to new rain and the opening of two flood gates upstream at Possum Kingdom Lake.

Joel Kertok, the emergency management spokesman, said Friday that the river there has risen above flood stage again after dropping below it Thursday night.

On Thursday, water was lapping at the foundations of 11 homes as the river crested at 23.58 feet before dropping to about 20 feet. The flood stage is at 21 feet. The level rose Friday to 21.4 feet and was expected to rise more with the opening of the flood gates.

Residents of about 250 homes near the river, most in the Horseshoe Bend community, were asked to voluntarily evacuate.

'Traffic is an absolute nightmare'

Earlier this morning, Ted Ryan with the National Weather Service offered an update.

“Even some of the main roods have water over them and traffic is an absolute nightmare in parts of Dallas because people are trying to get to work on these highways and probably are not expecting to still see the highway shut down from the rain that occurred overnight,” Ryan said.

One runway was shut down at D/FW  International Airport. Heavy rain prevented workers from repairing a collapsing storm drain that caused a sinkhole near the runway earlier this week. The airport expected few delays.

There were also reports of flooding in homes in Garland, as well as an apartment complex in Grand Prairie.

No one’s been reported hurt, so far.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the Trinity River in Dallas.

The river was at about 38 feet earlier this morning. Flood stage is 30 feet. The river’s expected to crest near 43 feet by tonight.

Credit Rick Holter / KERA News
A look at the Trinity River in Dallas Friday morning.

“We just really need to hammer home the fact that yes, the rain was needed, but this is obviously way too much and it’s not really welcome now,” Ryan said. “We’re really struggling to put up with this. We really hope it ends soon.”

Historian Bob Fairbanks spoke about one of the worst floods in Dallas history back in February.

Ryan also says there will be some more rain tonight, but the forecasters predict just one to two inches of rainfall. Next week should be clear skies.

Video: Watch water rushing into Lake Arlington

.@wfaaweather Water rushing in to Lake Arlington. #TexasFlood #dfwwx — Devin Paine (@devinpaine) May 29, 2015

Original post: North Texas was hit with rain – once again – overnight. Some areas got nearly 7 inches of rain.

Johnson County officials say they have evacuated 12 people who were caught in floodwaters. Officials said some homes in the county south of Dallas were inundated with water late yesterday. Some people were rescued from stranded vehicles. The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings for 21 Texas communities including Johnson, Travis and Bastrop counties.

A line of thunderstorms stalled while passing over the Dallas area overnight, dropping as much as 7 inches of rain in some areas as vehicles became trapped on flooded streets and water seeped into homes.

Dallas Fire Rescue said early Friday that crews have responded to about 260 calls that include vehicles trapped in high water and accidents related to the weather since midnight Thursday.

National Weather Service meteorologist Ted Ryan says an average of 3 to 5 inches of rain fell across the area. He says Garland got from 6 to 7 inches of rain. He says flooding along a creek there washed some cars down the street.

This is the wettest May on record for Dallas-Fort Worth, the National Weather Service reports. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport has recorded 16.07 inches of rain through 6 a.m. Friday, smashing the previous May record of 13.66 inches in 1982.

Flood headlines from around Texas

  • Veterinarians are on hand to care for the dogs helping to find those missing from the Memorial Day weekend floods in Central Texas. Search team Texas Task Force 1 spokesman Will Welch says the dogs are indispensable for covering vast amounts of ground quickly and effectively. The dogs get their paws wrapped with duct tape to offer some protection.

  • The search for a Houston girl who disappeared while swimming off Galveston Island is set to continue after being suspended for the night. Galveston Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis said the students when in the water in groups of five while supervised by two chaperones. He said two students from one group were having problems. A chaperone helped them back to shore. Davis says the chaperone found that Samira Carlon had disappeared when they turned around.

  • Two forks of the San Jacinto River northeast of Houston have overflowed their banks, but no serious problems have being reported. Harris County emergency management spokesman Francisco Sanchez says the water from the west fork has poured into the streets of nearby neighborhoods but the homes are on stilts and residents are used to high water. Sanchez says those who live along the river's east fork are also used to being flooded and isolated, and they haven't reported any serious issues. The forks combine to form Lake Houston, and the river below the lake eventually becomes the Houston Ship Channel. Sanchez says highways in Houston and the rest of Harris County are clear.

KERA's Sam Baker, Bill Zeeble and Stella M. Chávez contributed to this report.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.