The major flood threat will begin to subside in the area on Tuesday as the storms shift eastward toward Louisiana and Mississippi. Parts of eastern and southeastern Texas are still under a slight risk for excessive rainfall Tuesday.
“I’ve been here 13 years, and this is by far the worst it’s ever flooded,” Thompson said of Hickory Creek, which runs through the city.
When he walked into his heavy equipment rental business on Monday morning, 3 inches of water quickly covered the floor. Within an hour, he told KTVT, the water had risen to about a foot. He said he will have to close up shop for about a week to assess and clean up the damage.
Brittany Taylor moved into her Dallas apartment just two days before the flooding. Much of her belongings were still packed into cardboard boxes, which were soaked by the water.
“The last thing I expected was to wake to my brand new apartment flooded,” she said. “There was just water gushing through the front door of the apartment. My refrigerator started floating away.”
Jenkins also announced that an unnamed woman was killed when flood waters swept away her vehicle. Her car was “presumably” swept off the road and was found when the water receded, according to Mesquite Fire Department Chief Russell Wilson.
The relentless downpour soaked a region that has been under extreme drought in recent months. More than a quarter of Texas is under the highest drought designation, including the Dallas-Forth Worth area.
The same storm system battered parts of the Southwest over the weekend and continues to threaten parts of the region, as approximately 9 million people across the South are under flood watches Tuesday.
Drivers forced to abandon cars in rising waters
The overwhelming water level took many residents by surprise as it rushed into homes and onto highways. Several local authorities urged residents not to drive into high waters Monday as flooding filled the streets.
In downtown Dallas, Cassondra Anna Mae Stewart was driving home at 3 a.m. when she noticed Interstate 30 has started to become cover by water, she told CNN. Videos she took of the scene show water rippling past car wheels as rain continues to fall across the road.
“I was able to back up on a ramp to get off the highway,” she said. “I took an alternate route home … although most streets are flooded down there as well.”
Hundreds of traffic accidents were reported during the flooding, according to Dallas police.
Traffic through the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was also hard hit, with hundreds of flights to and from the airport canceled and about half of its departing flights delayed, according to tracking website FlightAware.
“None of the overflows of diluted wastewater have affected the City’s water supply,” Dallas Water Utilities Department assistant director Zachary Peoples said.
The city is recommending that some people in the impacted areas use boiled or distilled water.
The sudden rainfall comes amidst a “flash drought,” which has brought an exceptionally dry year across regions of Texas, including the areas impacted my this week’s flooding.
In the first half of the year, areas of the state have experienced rainfall deficits of between 8-10 inches, according to the Drought Monitor. But those shortfalls will be essentially erased in Dallas due to the flooding, while other areas will still experience them, the agency said. In less than 24 hours between Sunday and Monday, Dallas had received an entire summer’s worth of rainfall — over 7 inches.
The frequency and intensity of rainfall over land have increased with every degree of the planet warming since the 1980s.
CNN’s Brandon Miller, Caitlin Kaiser, Caroll Alvarado, Ross Levitt, Payton Major, Angela Fritz, Alisha Ebrahimji and Jennifer Henderson contributed to this report.