Residents and public safety officials in Grayson County were subjected to powerful storms and heavy rainfall over the weekend that left a lasting impression even after the waters receded.
The National Weather Service reports that between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning, storms dumped between four and 10.5 inches of rain throughout the county. The intense rains fell over a matter of hours and led to flash flooding, highway and road closures, stalled vehicles and crashes, evacuations, rescues and power outages. Though the weekend’s weather resulted in considerable damage and disruption, no serious injuries were reported.
“While resources were stressed by the heavy rains and response to flood areas, and property losses are devastating for owners, we are grateful for the lack of serious injuries,” Grayson County Emergency Management Coordinator Sarah Somers said in a text message on Sunday. “And as always, community heroes continue to make a difference to those impacted.”
Grayson County’s highest level of rainfall was recorded in Knollwood, where gauges collected a weekend total of 10.39 inches of precipitation, but the Sherman area wasn’t far behind with a total of 9.5 inches of rain. The county received the bulk of it’s rainfall late Saturday and early Sunday.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Juan Hernandez said a slow moving weather system hung over the Texoma region and unleashed heavy rains not usually seen in the region at this time of year.
“What we had Saturday was a stalled cold front that was draped across the Red River counties and down into the Sulphur Springs area,” Hernandez said. “For one, that is not typical for August and then second of all, we had a a bit of a disturbance moving over the area to go along with our front. When you combine those two, along with very moist air like we saw, you get very heavy rainfall and that was the case this weekend.”
Somers noted that the investigation into the storm damage was still ongoing, and officials were uncertain of the total cost from the storm.
“We are looking at costs of response and uninsured damages to residents and businesses,” Somers said. “It is unlikely, although flooding was dramatic, that losses will reach required loss thresholds for any federal disaster relief. Folks with uninsured losses should work with Red Cross for immediate assistance and then other non-profits and faith based organizations.”
Sherman saw significant flooding as a result of the storms. High water halted traffic on U.S. Highway 75 near Pecan Street late Saturday and into Sunday morning. The Sherman Police Department also reported significant flooding in the 1100 block of West Washington Street, the 500 and 600 blocks of North Montgomery Street, at the intersection of South Ricketts Street and Center Street along Choctaw Creek, as well as in multiple residences on Contemporary Street and Regency Circle.
The American Red Cross in Denison Disaster Program Manager Michael Leirer said the residents living in the Regency Circle duplexes were hit especially hard.
“They were under at least four feet of water,” Leirer said. “And so, we had about 33 units deemed completely non-livable. In every one of them, there was a family and they’ll be out of their homes for at least the next three to six months, depending on their insurance and how fast they can get someone in there to repair the damage.”
Sherman’s police and fire officials conducted multiple rescues on Saturday and Sunday. Sherman Fire-Rescue Chief Danny Jones said his department’s technical rescue team did not have to go as far as deploying boats to conduct its rescues, but crews waded into high water for 25-30 vehicle rescues and assists.
“These were vehicles that stalled out in the water and, at that particular time, it was just a matter of just helping the drivers and passengers get out of the vehicle and helping them walk to dry land,” Jones said. “Now, there were some vehicles that were swept to the side of the road with the water, but for the most part, it was just helping those folks get out and walk to safety.”
Sherman Police Sgt. D.M. Hampton said officers also assisted stranded motorists, but even they weren’t immune to the damage of the flood waters.
“When one of our guys was getting out to help somebody that was stranded, one of our patrol cars actually got flooded,” Hampton said.
Denison also saw localized flooding, however damage appears to be minimal, city officials said Sunday. Battalion Chief Bruce Geilhausen said many streets that often flood during heavy rain continued that trend Sunday morning.
“When I came in, Eisenhower was shut down, but the waters receded, and we didn’t have much else,” he said.
In Fannin County, officials reported only two flooded homes near Ladonia. Emergency Management Coordinator Darrell Brewer said portions of the county received between six and eight inches of rain, but damage appeared to be minimal.
Beyond the two homes that were damaged, Brewer said many low lying roads, including State Highway 78, south of Bonham, were flooded.
National Weather Service forecasts indicate a 20 percent chance of storms for the area on Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening, but sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 90s are expected by the weekend.
Herald Democrat reporter Michael Hutchins contributed to this story.