Severe flash flooding in Texas prompts 245 water rescues, evacuations

Multiple rounds of storms in the Amarillo, Texas, area Wednesday led to severe flash flooding, prompting water rescues and evacuations throughout the night.

The National Weather Service Amarillo had released multiple special weather statements and warnings Wednesday, including noting the possibility of seeing nickel-size hail and 50–55 mph wind gusts.

As storms intensified, so did warnings, with the service telling more than 252,000 residents around Amarillo to move immediately to higher ground and avoid walking or driving through flood waters amid the flash flood warning.

Some roads were closed due to water levels, with the Amarillo Fire Department helping evacuate flooded streets. It also performed water rescues at an apartment complex inundated with up to six feet of water.

As of 3 p.m. local time Thursday, the fire department said it had rescued 245 people and 57 pets.

On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Grey Abbott issued a severe weather disaster declaration for 13 counties, which allowed for the use of state resources to help cope with the storms. 

Some areas hit by the storm were already recovering from other flooding and heavy rain that hit in recent weeks, and it might not be over yet.

The National Weather Service said more severe storms are possible Friday evening into Saturday, which could bring large hail, damaging winds and more flash flooding from heavy rain to the area.