Heavy Rain in Texas as Obama Declares Flood Disaster - NBC Southern California
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Heavy Rain in Texas as Obama Declares Flood Disaster

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Heavy Rain in North Texas

    Heavy rain moved into North Texas again on Saturday morning causing problems for many people in the area. (Published Saturday, May 30, 2015)

    Rain moved across North Texas once again on Saturday morning flooding roads and adding to the already rising lake and creek levels.

    For the second day in a row, flash flood warnings were activated for many of the bigger counties including Dallas, Tarrant, Denton and Collin.

    From Dallas to Lewisville, Denton and beyond, police departments, cities and residents reported high water and road closures.

    People who live along Singleton Boulevard in West Dallas are watching the weather very closely after Dallas Police officers drove through the neighborhood on Friday night urging residents to evacuate.

    Some waited until Saturday morning.

    "We knew it was going to flood since we stayed in front of the little river so we just left," said Juanita Hernandez.

    Garland, one of the hardest hit areas, has seen 9 inches of rain fall in the last two days.

    And in Dallas about 6 inches fell as of Saturday morning. The rain is not a welcomed sight for many in Dallas County after flooding blocked Loop 12 under Interstate 30 overpass on Friday. That area is expected to be closed well into next week.

    In Lewisvlle John Beachman who has lived by Timber Creek since 2001 said 8 feet of his property is now under water.  

    President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration amid the severe weather, offering federal funding to affected people in Harris, Hays and Van Zandt counties, the White House said in a statement early Saturday. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had earlier requested a presidential disaster declaration to get federal help for affected counties.

    Two Dead in North Texas Flooding

    Two North Texas deaths have been blamed on the flooding. 

    Mesquite Fire Department Capt. Kelly Turner said a man's body was found early Friday morning after his truck had been swept into a culvert and submerged.

    The Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office identified the flood victim as 47-year-old John Jeffrey Usfrey.

    Turner said people stranded on two cars that were also swept off the road told responders about the truck. He said the truck had been underwater for some time before they found it, and that authorities believe the man, whose name has not been released, was alone in the vehicle.

    In Dallas, police said Friday afternoon the body of a man was found near California Crossing and Northwest Highway as flood waters receded. Police did not release the man's identity, but did say he was not found in a vehicle.

    Recent storms are being blamed for killing seven people in Oklahoma and at least 23 in Texas, where 13 remain missing or unaccounted for. 

    Dallas County

    Flooding has blocked a busy highway west of Downtown Dallas, causing major traffic delays in both directions.

    Drivers Stranded in Dallas FloodingDrivers Stranded in Dallas Flooding

    Overnight rain caused water to pool on Loop 12, under the Interstate 30 overpass Friday morning, trapping commuters for several hours.
    (Published Friday, May 29, 2015)

    Overnight rain caused water to pool on Loop 12, under the Interstate 30 overpass Friday morning, trapping commuters for several hours. Some of the drivers said they had been there since 5 or 6 a.m.

    Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Hartzel said a crane was brought in after 11 a.m. to remove a section of median so that motorists trapped in the southbound lanes could get off the roadway. The northbound lane had already been cleared.

    He said the southbound lanes were more challenging because streets where people could have exited were flooded as well. He said they think that the area where the road usually drains to flooded as well, so there was nowhere for the water to go.

     

    On Friday an NBC 5 photographer captured video of a driver maneuvering around a police cruiser beneath an overpass on Northwest Highway early Friday and heading directly into high water.

    Rescue crews used a raft to help that driver to safety after the SUV gave way to the water.

    "We have a sincere plea with our drivers. If you see a barricade or a sign, please do not try to drive through that area," said Sana Syed, City of Dallas spokesperson.

    Tarik Hawkins told NBC News he was became stranded while trying to drive to work. He said it took him two hours to drive about a mile and described the situation on the road as "very chaotic."

    "Right off I-35, there has to be 50 or 60 cars stranded," he said.