Texas officials were prompted by torrential rains and severe flooding to declare Dallas a disaster area.
Judge Clay Jenkins of Dallas County made the unusual announcement on Monday after widespread flooding closed roads, stranded motorists, impacted housing and businesses and killed at least one person.
“Based on preliminary damage assessments, I am declaring a state of disaster in Dallas County and requesting state and federal assistance for affected individuals.”
Jenkins also reported the first fatality, a 60-year-old woman who died when her vehicle was swept away by flood waters.
Officials cautioned citizens to retreat to safe areas and stay off the roads. Jenkins warned area residents that some roads may appear safe to travel but emphasized that even flooding within an inch of water can cause “loss of control of a vehicle” on roadways.
According to Fox News, the Dallas Fire Department has responded to 195 “High Water Incidents” and rescued “21 people and 10 dogs from fast-moving waters caused by overnight storms on Sunday and Monday.”
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson noted that the Dallas region had received 8.86 inches of rain in 24 hours — a record since 1932.
The National Weather Service recorded 9.19 inches of rain in the 24 hours ending at 2 p.m. local time on Monday.
The Dallas police department posted pictures of the flooding:
Flooding has closed interstates, roadways, parks and many businesses. Dallas-Fort Worth International airport notes delays and cancellations.
The Dallas Water Utilities (DWU) Department reported that flooding had overwhelmed sewer systems at several locations throughout the city.
DWU advised: “Persons using private drinking water supply wells located within a half-mile of the spill sites or within the potentially impacted areas should use only water that has been distilled or boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute for all personal uses, including drinking, cooking, bathing, and tooth brushing.”
Officials note that the worst of the storm is over, but flash flooding in the next 24 hours is possible.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released the following statement:
“The State of Texas remains proactive in our emergency response efforts, and we continue to monitor rainfall and flooding conditions across the state. I want to thank emergency response personnel and first responders for working around the clock to protect lives and property amid these storms. As we work together to protect our communities, I urge Texans to heed the guidance of their local officials and avoid dangerous roadways that could be affected by heavy rain and flash flooding in the days ahead.”
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