Storms soak Texas, bring air traffic to a crawl

DALLAS, TX Street flooding in the Dallas area led to some high water rescues. Earlier in the day, hundreds of people in Lancaster, located just south of Dallas, were advised to evacuate their homes as nearby Ten Mile Creek rose. By evening though, the creek waters had receded.

Up to about 5.5 inches of rain fell in parts of Dallas by early evening, when the rainfall had begun to slow. Only scattered showers were expected for the rest of the night, which accumulations of no more than an inch expected, said Dan Shoemaker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

By Wednesday, mostly sunny skies were expected with highs in the mid-60s.

In Mesquite, emergency officials were searching for a 14-year-old apparently swept away by flood waters as he and a friend played in a creek earlier Tuesday afternoon. The missing teen's friend, who was able to swim to safety, said he saw his friend get sucked into a drainage pipe, according to a news release from the Mesquite Fire Department.

A fire department spokesman said that the search would continue overnight.

Winds of more than 100 mph briefly were reported at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where lightning struck a ramp earlier Tuesday. Airport officials said the strongest winds occurred in microbursts and caused no damage.

More than half of the 950 flights for all airlines scheduled to depart DFW on Tuesday were canceled, airport officials said. More than 100 incoming flights were diverted.

"This is one of the most vicious thunderstorms DFW has seen in quite some time, especially its ongoing intensity," said airport spokesman Ken Capps. "Add in two snow storms in the past two weeks and this has been one of the most unusual early spring weather patterns in years. We know it can be frustrating for passengers, but everyone's top priority is their safety."

It's unclear how many travelers were affected by the cancellations, but airport officials estimate about 160,000 passengers pass through DFW each day.

FAA officials evacuated DFW's west tower for about 15 minutes Tuesday morning after seeing a funnel cloud over a highway. A funnel cloud was also spotted over Lake Lewisville, just north of the airport.

By Tuesday evening, the Federal Aviation Administration said it was accepting about 50 arrivals and departures per hour. Normally, more than 120 flights arrive and depart the airport's seven runways every hour, the airport said in a news release.

"All airlines at DFW will be working overnight to rebuild their schedules and delays and cancellations during this 'catch up' period should be expected," Capps said.

The airlines are expected to have 11 cancellations Wednesday morning.

At Dallas Love Field, some 20 Southwest flights were canceled. Another 20 were diverted and many other flights were delayed, at most for three hours, said airline spokeswoman Ashley Rogers.

In the Dallas suburb of Lancaster, Ten Mile Creek spilled its banks after daylong rains, flooding at least one house and leaving a handful of cars stuck in watery streets.

In Lancaster, a woman was rescued from her yard and four other people were rescued from their vehicles, said Ciciely Hickmon, a spokeswoman for the city.

She said that the city called 687 phone numbers along Ten Mile Creek, telling residents that the creek has reached its banks and advising them to evacuate. But by evening, the creek waters had receded, she said.

In Red Oak, just south of Dallas, about 17 mobile homes were cleared out as a precautionary measure as Red Oak Creek continued to rise, said Renee Freeman, a communications supervisor for Red Oak police. A dispatcher said that by the evening, the mobile home park had reopened to residents.

Dozens of streets were closed off in the Dallas area as waters continued to rise.

A Dallas Area Rapid Transit bus had to be abandoned by the driver and passengers when it became stranded in high water. Nobody was hurt.

Storms continued across East Texas, bringing high winds to that area as well.

Rusk County Commissioner Bill Hale said there were some reports of trees down in an area along U.S. 259 south of Kilgore. He said they didn't know if the damage was caused by straight-line winds or a tornado.

Weather led to cancellation of college baseball games in Waco, Fort Worth and Abilene.

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