Residents on alert as flash flooding continues across South
Thursday, May 21, 2015, 2:10 - Flooding will remain a concern across the southern Plains as we head into the Memorial Day long weekend, with additional rain forecast for the region.
Hundreds of residents in Wichita Falls, Texas, were forced to evacuate Thursday morning due to rising water levels on the Wichita River.
The city pushed the mandatory evacuations from 6 p.m. Thursday to 8 a.m., which caught some residents off guard.
"River levels and flow have increased which has moved up the prediction of the time water will rise in the area," said the city on their Facebook page Thursday in reply to one commenter questioning the sudden time change.
At first, the heavy rainfall was a welcomed sight as just a few months ago, the North Texas city was in a drought so severe that it had to recycle sewage water for drinking. Now, however, it's proven to be almost too much to handle as crews work tirelessly performing water rescues across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
In Fort Worth, Texas, officials say a school bus slid off a flooded road and into a water-filled ditch on Thursday.
The driver was able to get out without sustaining any injuries.
Luckily, there were no students on the bus at the time.
A school district near Fort Worth says school buses were running up to 20 minutes behind schedule due to the weather.
Heavy rain overnight caused flooding in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Stores like Old Navy, Shoe Carnival and Sports Clips were flooded and damaged.
Officials at Shoe Carnival said that the water was so high that they couldn't open their backdoor.
The Shoe Carnival store was closed Wednesday. Old Navy and Sports Clips opened a little later in the day.
A state of emergency was declared Wednesday for the Comanche Nation, following weeks of heavy rains.
After assessing flood damage, officials say hundreds of residents are in need of help.
Emergency workers spent Wednesday morning sandbagging homes in preparation of further flooding.
Click below to watch: Dangerous flood water in Norman, OK.
ADDITIONAL RAIN TO COME;
With May rainfall totals nearing --or in some cases, surpassing -- historic levels, officials say the worse is yet to come as additional thunderstorms are in the forecast.
A flash flood watch is in effect for parts of Texas and Oklahoma Thursday through Monday morning.
The first wave of rain will dump an additional 1 to 2 inches of rainfall onto the region Thursday through Friday, according to The National Weather Service."Scattered strong to severe storms with damaging winds and large hail are expected Thursday afternoon across eastern North Carolina," said the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in a convective outlook summery.\ "Isolated storms with strong winds and some hail will occur Thursday afternoon across southeast Florida, the Upper Texas coast into southern Louisiana, the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and across southwest into west central New Mexico."
MEMORIAL DAY LONG WEEKEND
Saturday and Sunday will bring the second wave, with an additional 2 to 4 inches -- with locally higher amounts possible -- to parts of Texas and Oklahoma, according the National Weather Service (NWS).
"Areas of flooding and river flooding are ongoing at many locations across the watch area...and additional rainfall through the holiday weekend will exacerbate existing flood concerns," says the NWS in a weather alert.
"Anyone who has outdoor activities or travel planned over the coming weekend should closely monitor conditions for possible closures of roads and recreational areas, and plan accordingly."
Be sure to check back for updates, as the weekend storms could produce large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes.