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Flooding in Dallas-Fort Worth area disrupts freight operations

Rescue crews respond to hundreds of calls for help from stranded motorists

Torrential rains and heavy flooding on Monday forced road closures and route changes for transportation businesses across the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.

Ruby Lee, principal at logistics provider Ultimate Transportation, said flooded roads delayed some of her drivers for hours. Ultimate Transportation is based in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite.

“It was very challenging coordinating late pickups and deliveries first thing in the morning,” Lee told FreightWaves. “No one could get off the interstate due to raging water flooding on most service roads in the area.”

Lee said the company was operating as usual by Tuesday.

“We are all back to normal,” she said. “There is still lots of cleaning to be done. We had lots of debris in populated areas left after the flooding.”

The severe storm system that struck the Dallas-Fort Worth area Monday unexpectedly dropped up to 15 inches of rain by 8 a.m., causing delays on major roadways such as Interstate 35. Dallas reported 3.01 inches of rain in one hour overnight, the city’s highest one hour rainfall total on record.

Dallas Fire-Rescue Department responded to nearly 200 vehicle high-water rescues in the space of several hours. The Fort Worth Fire Department received 500 calls for service and performed 174 high-water rescues and investigations, the department tweeted

At least one death resulted from Monday’s storm: A 60-year-old woman and her vehicle were swept away by floodwaters on State Highway 352, west of downtown Dallas.

John Esparza, president and CEO of the Texas Trucking Association, said most trucking companies have protocols in place in case weather causes major disruptions to their schedules.

“We were anticipating rain yesterday — not as much as we received — but you’re going to see adjustments made by some trucking companies, whether that’s through rerouting or just experiencing some delays by taking more time,” Esparza said. “If it’s difficult to move through areas that are experiencing flooding, the best thing is for precautions and communications to persist during times like this and set expectations on deliveries and such.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed a disaster declaration for 23 counties impacted by Monday’s severe flooding to allow the state to exercise emergency disaster response powers.

“The effect of this storm has been dramatic here in Dallas and Fort Worth but also across multiple regions in the state of Texas,” Abbott said during a press conference.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact nmahoney@freightwaves.com