Texas flood emergency declared



Staff Reports | | Thursday, June 28, 2007

HOOD COUNTY, Texas Hood County officials issued a disaster alert shortly before 10:30 p.m. Tuesday due to severe flooding.

The alert stated that residents were seeking refuge on rooftops as floodwaters engulfed homes.

Shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday, Hood County News Online reported that Granbury Lake Harbor residents were being rescued by boat and that some had climbed trees or cut holes in their roofs to escape floodwaters. The report also stated a call had been issued for all available firefighters and paramedics to assist with the rescues.

The National Weather Service issued numerous weather warnings throughout the late afternoon and early evening hours Tuesday -- including tornado warnings for Ellis County and southern Johnson County -- as a broad swath of thunderstorms moved across North Texas.

The Ellis County tornado warning was in effect until 7:30 p.m., and the Johnson County warning expired at 6:45 p.m. But flood warnings for several counties extended deeper into the evening.

Flood warnings for Denton and Grayson Counties were in effect until 11 p.m., and Collin and Mills counties were under flood warnings until 10 p.m. A flood warning for Dallas County was in effect until 9:15 p.m., and Bosque, Hill and Johnson counties were under flood warnings until 9 p.m. Other counties under flood warnings Tuesday evening included Hamilton County (expiring 8:30 p.m.); Tarrant County (7:45 p.m.); Collin and Denton counties (7 p.m.) and Cooke County (6:30 p.m.)

Tuesday's storms were expected to drop up to three inches of rain in North Texas. Heavy rains moved into Denton and Collin counties Tuesday afternoon, slowing the evening commute and flooding neighborhoods.

"It looks like for today mostly a heavy rain event," said Jessica Schultz, a National Weather Service meteorologist. "If any severe weather does develop, it will be very isolated."

In Celina in Collin County, a line of storms Tuesday afternoon caused flood damage to several homes.

Celina fire officials said they had three calls for assistance. Water filled some front yards, while at other houses it rushed by in ditches. Resident Jalyn King said Tuesday was the third time in recent weeks that her mother's house at Ohio and Ash streets had been damaged by flooding.

Ms. King, 21, said this time she called 911 and quickly pulled back the family's refigerator and dining table as water rose. A couple of hours after the rain started, it had slowed to a drizzle and the water was receding.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a flood warning for White Rock Creek near White Rock lake. At 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, the creek was at 75.6 feet. Flood stage is 84 feet, and the creek was expected to crest between 87 and 88 feet.

A moist air mass stalled over the region was expected to produce a chance of rain through early next week, albeit diminishing some each day, the NWS said.

Early Tuesday, a storm system with strong winds that damaged around a dozen homes northwest of Fort Worth.

The Wise County Sheriff's Department reported 10 to 15 homes were damaged as the storm moved through shortly before 3 a.m. Most of the destruction appeared to be between Decatur northeast to the small town of Slidell about 12 miles away.

"I think it was a tornado," Amy Lanciano told WFAA-TV. "My whole roof is gone. The porch is gone. My wheelhouse is gone. There's lots of stuff that's just missing."

She said she heard loud noises and the house started shaking.

"I had to get up and go get my two girls out of bed and get them to the closet," Ms. Lanciano said.

Ms. Schultz said the storm between Decatur and Slidell showed rotation on the radar, but it was too early to determine whether a tornado or straight-line winds caused the damage.

Before daylight Tuesday, the Red Cross said it had identified two homes that sustained heavy wind damage in Wise County, but the agency was waiting for daybreak to assess the damage. A further report had not been issued late Tuesday afternoon.

Some street flooding was reported in Gainesville, a city along Interstate 35 close to the Oklahoma line that was hit by major flooding last week. Reports indicated that some roads near Elm Creek were covered with water as heavy rains moved through.

Ms. Schultz said this June could become one of the 10 wettest Junes on record. Some 6.5 inches of rain have fallen, with more expected through Saturday. The wettest June was in 1928, when 11.5 inches fell. No. 10 on the list is 1923, when 6.74 inches were recorded.

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