Brush fires burned only a month earlier in sections of the Dallas/Fort Worth area forcing the evacuation of some homes. In stark contrast yesterday (Monday), water rescues became necessary for hundreds trapped in vehicles and homes by flood waters. At least one fatality was reported, and the area has been declared a disaster area.
Extreme precipitation events like this are the calling cards of climate change which alters the water content of the atmosphere through warming.
The irony of Monday’s rains is the severity of the drought which had been in progress before the deluge hit. It’s but the latest example of what’s become known as a “whiplash” precipitation event—an instance in which extreme rain follows extreme drought. A further irony is the fact such downpours occur so quickly, much of the water they deposit runs off rather than percolating into dry soils meaning they bring only temporary relief from drought conditions which have often taken years to produce.
In typical warm season fashion, rainfalls across north Texas varied widely–from as little as 1″ to as much as 15″. At the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, 9.19″ of rain fell in the 24-hour period through 2pm CDT Monday–heavier than only one other rain on record there which fell there (9.57″) September 4-5, 1932–nearly 90 years ago. The return rate for the heaviest rains which fell Monday over the hardest hit the Dallas/Fort Worth area is only once every 1,000 years and sections of the Dallas/Fort Worth area received more than 3″ of rain in a single hour.
As a plot of Monday storm reports posted here indicates, Texas wasn’t the only area with big rains. Thundery monsoonal rains accompanied by wind gusts which sent dust airborne occurred in scattered section of New Mexico and Arizona.
Read the Associated Press’ (AP) reporting on Monday’s North Texas cloudburst.
Also check out the reporting on Monday’s historic Dallas/Fort Worth area rains in this Texas Tribune piece.