Overnight Storms Pound North Texas

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While North Texas was not hit nearly as hard by the series of rainstorms as Houston, it has taken its own pounding. The latest bout of severe weather pummeled the region in the middle of the night, and of great concern is flooding in Parker and Wise counties, both already drenched from overflowing waterways. The National Weather Service called this round of April showers brief but hazardous.

Just after 3 a.m., thunder began to rumble north of Dallas in Denton County. Until 4 a.m., a tornado watch was in effect in Central Texas counties such as Comanche and Erath.

In Parker County, the Brazos River continued to rise, flood and posed a dangerous threat to residents in the Horseshoe Bend community. Wednesday, people braced for the river to rise high enough to leave many stranded. Following last weekend’s rains, Parker County Emergency Management spokesman Joel Kertok expected the river to crest at around 26 feet mid-day Monday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Those waters began to recede during a lull in the storms Tuesday; however, more than an inch of rain fell, which concerned authorities.

The Texas National Guard remains on standby, according to CBS DFW, prepared to rescue anyone who needs assistance with evacuating from their homes. Dallas news radio WBAP-AM reported the Parker County Emergency Management Office said at least 60 area homes were damaged. Horsehoe Bend issued a voluntary evacuation late Sunday and continues to encourage residents to go to a nearby shelter in Weatherford; however, one of the challenges rescuers face is that many flood victims choose to stay in their homes out of fear looters will ransack their properties if they leave.

The Brazos River Authority posted on its website Wednesday morning that a second floodgate at Possom Kingdom Lake’s Morris Sheppard Dam reopened to assist in draining the flooded area. Later in the evening, in preparation Thursday’s deluge, they posted on Facebook: “Two gates open, one gate floating and ready to open if necessary.”

Wise County residents also endured dramatic flooding this week when Lake Bridgeport overflowed onto U.S. Highway 380 in Runaway Bay. NBC DFW reported the county’s emergency management teams expect more flooding from Thursday morning’s rains. Swift water rescue teams and  the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) began staging overnight water rescues in anticipation of evacuations and stranded homeowners and motorists.

Downed trees and power lines also present a threat to Parker County residents.

NBC DFW reported emergency management in Cooke County advised some trees fell on homes, others blocked roads after wind gusts estimated at 60 mph tore through the area Wednesday. There were power outages in Dallas, Ellis and Tarrant counties.

Even sinkholes were reported in Runaway Bay and northwest Dallas where the driver of a pickup truck unexpectedly found himself trapped Wednesday morning. Authorities believed the sinkhole was the result of rain runoff, KDFW 4 (Fox) reported.

Isolated flash flooding closed roads for a short time in Fort Worth Wednesday morning. Heavy rains on Sunday, which shut down Dallas streets along White Rock Creek, remained on the radar for the National Weather Service. They issued an urban flood danger advisory.

Amid the current havoc caused by torrential rainfall, North Texas continues to recover from a series of devastating hailstorms. Earlier this week, the Insurance Council of Texas toured the aftermath of the latest massive hailstorm, the third to strike the DFW area between March 17 and April 11, racking up a total of about $1.6 billion dollars in damages among those storms in Tarrant County, Plano and, most recently Wylie, where softball-sized hail destroyed home roof tops and windows, and cars. Residents, given no reprieve from the weather, find little relief in covering up exposed areas of their homes with tarp as the rains keep coming, making it difficult for homes to dry out for repair. On Wednesday, Wylie Mayor Eric Hogue told the Dallas NBC affiliate last week’s hailstorm damaged 80 percent of the city’s 15,000 homes based on initial assessment estimates. A handful of city-owned buildings were damaged in last week’s hailstorm as well.

The rains will taper off Thursday afternoon. The next possible storm front arrives Sunday.

Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.