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Heavy Rain Floods Streets, Diverts Flights Across Dallas, Fort Worth

By Melissa Newton & Matt Goodman, CBSDFW.COM
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Flooding in Fort Worth on May 23, 2011. (Credit: Chuck Schechner/KRLD)

Flooding in Fort Worth on May 23, 2011. (Credit: Chuck Schechner/KRLD)

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Heavy rain pounded the area Monday morning causing diverted flights, power outages and flooded streets, trapping some drivers in their cars.

The Fort Worth Fire Department responded to 13 high water calls in just about an hour. And at Dallas Fort/Worth International Airport, about 35 American Airlines flights had to be diverted because of the weather, a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, high water covered numerous roadways as the large storm crawled east along Interstate 30. Police shut down streets and set up barricades in low-lying areas.

Where there weren’t roadblocks, some drivers turned around anyway, but others took their chances with the high water and ended up stranded.

“We got flooded,” said Kenneth Henry. “It was bad!”

Henry and his three-year-old daughter Sa’Ryia were trapped in their car after the Fort Worth father drove his car through the high water, causing it to stall.

“It was deep, it was all the way up to right here,” he said, pointing at the seat of his car.

He wasn’t the only resident surprised by how fast the water rose.

“We were leaving the hospital coming down Riverside and in that low section right there three cars were stranded,” said Sidney Taylor, who had to be rescued from the high water by firefighters. “It got dangerous for a moment there because the water rised up over the seats.”

Officials advise drivers not to drive through water if they cannot tell exactly how high it is.

While it’s a lesson learned the hard way, Both Taylor and Henry said it’s one they won’t soon forget.

“The Fire Department got there right in time, ”Taylor said. “I’d say another ten minutes we would have been submerged.”

The weather was also to blame for about 25 car wrecks in Fort Worth Monday morning, but there were no reports of major injuries.

“I was just trying to get my little girl out,” Henry said, “I didn’t care about nothing else.”

At DFW Airport Sunday, American Airlines diverted 56 flights and canceled two. On Monday, the airline diverted about 35, a spokesman said.

Some irritated travelers took to Twitter, reporting that they were told bad weather and a lack of fuel meant they wouldn’t reach their destinations in time.

Tim Smith, American Airlines spokesman, said “there’s nothing devious going on here,” and that each American flight is filled with about twice as much fuel than what’s required by the Federal Aviation Agency.

“We always fuel the planes to have enough fuel plus extra,” Smith said. “None of these occurred because there’s, quote unquote, ‘not enough fuel.’”

When choosing to divert a plane, Smith said American makes a decision in conjunction with the flight crew, cockpit crew and dispatchers. When weather makes conditions unsafe to land at the intended destination, the planes sometimes divert to another airport to wait out the storm.

“Every flight plan has alternates, and everyone studies those,” he said. “To say that we’re under-fueled, no, the storms were pretty severe by most accounts yesterday and certainly disruptive. It’s no fun, but it beats the alternative.”

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