Floodwaters overtake trucks and cars in downtown Dallas as flash flooding threat persists

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(CNN)Flooding overwhelmed cars and trucks early Monday on interstates in downtown Dallas as flash flooding continues to threaten into the morning rush hour.

Though the heaviest rain has moved out, flash flooding is due to continue for a few more hours as broader flood watches Monday cover over 13 million people from northeastern Texas into northern Louisiana and far southern Arkansas from the same system that unleashed heavy rain and flash floods this weekend in parts of the Southwest.

Fast-rising water trapped vehicles around 3 a.m. CT (4 a.m. ET) on Interstate 30 in Dallas, said Cassondra Anna Mae Stewart, who took video of the dark, watery scene.

      “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.”

        Around that time, “trained weather spotters reported major flash flooding ongoing across Dallas with numerous roads and cars submerged, including Interstate 30 at Interstate 45 near downtown Dallas,” according to a flash flood warning statement issued at 3:21 a.m. CT (4:21 a.m. ET).

          Dallas County remains under a flash flood warning, with a considerable flood threat Monday until 8 a.m. CT (9 a.m. ET). Two more flash flood warnings covered Ellis County south of Dallas this morning, after up to 5 inches of rain was estimated to have fallen there.

          An estimated 8 inches of rain has drenched downtown Dallas since Sunday evening, according to rainfall estimates, with more than 6.5 inches pouring down at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and more than 6 inches at Dallas Love Field.

          Cities in Monday’s flood watch area include Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana. The region is under a moderate — Level 3 of 4 — risk of excessive rainfall. Rainfall rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour have been observed as storms move slowly across the area, creating the potential for up to 3 to 5 inches of rainfall.

          Rain persisted Sunday in parts of Arizona and New Mexico following floods in prior days in parts of the Southwest.

          In Utah, hikers Friday were “swept off their feet” in Zion National Park by a flash flood. Search and rescue team members were working to find a missing hiker near the Virgin River, the park said Saturday.

            In New Mexico, about 160 people had to shelter in place for several hours at Carlsbad Caverns National Park Saturday because of flash flooding, the City of Carlsbad said in a Facebook post.

            The park was closed Sunday, the National Park Service said. “Maintenance crews will begin to assess and clean debris from the roadway,” the National Park Service added.

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