A corridor from Texas and Louisiana to Missouri has been hammered with major flood events since spring 2015. The billion-dollar Louisiana flood is just the latest such event.
A massive flood swamped parts of southern and eastern Louisiana in August 2016, the latest in a string of more than a dozen flood events that have affected parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri since March 2015.
The most recent event from a swath of up to 31 inches of rain in just two days’ time flooded tens of thousands of homes, led to at least 20,000 rescues and also triggered significant flooding in parts of southeast Missouri and southern Illinois.
Over a 12-month period ending Aug. 14, 2016, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (98.83 inches), and Bergstrom Airport near Austin, Texas (67.86 inches) had their wettest Aug. 15-Aug. 14 12-month period on record, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center.
The six-month period from March-August 2015 was record wet in parts of Oklahoma.
Only a flash drought kicking in late in the summer in parts of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas kept it from ranking similar wet in those locations during that same time.
An analysis by FEMA and NOAA/NCEI from 1996-2013 found parts of Texas northeastward through Arkansas and Missouri average one to five flood events yearly.
In just under 18 months, however, the number, extremity and widespread nature of flood events has been incredible in this region.
Here are some of the most notable flood events that have swamped this area since March 2015. Some are more localized, some more widespread.
Mid-Late March 2015
- March 12: Streets closed, cars stalled in high water in Shreveport and Bossier City, Louisiana.
- March 21: Stalled front lead to training storms near the Texas, southwest Louisiana coast. Numerous cars stalled in high water in Jefferson County, Texas.
April 16-18, 2015
- Wall collapsed at recreation building at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.
- At least 65 homes flooded in Houston.
Late April 2015
- Roads washed out near Rio Vista, Texas.
- Water several feet deep in downtown Waxahachie, Texas, businesses.
- Water rescues in San Antonio metro.
Epic May 2015
- May 6-7: Record wet May day in Oklahoma City; DeWitt, Nebraska evacuated, flooded.
- May 18: Water 10-12 feet deep in San Angelo. Airport closed.
- Record, catastrophic flood of Blanco River at Wimberley, Texas May 24.
- Considered worst flooding, by some, in Houston on May 25-26 since Allison.
- May 28: Homes flooded in Shallowater, Texas and UMC hospital flooded in Lubbock.
- May 29: Water rescues in parts of Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex.
- Wettest month on record in Texas and Oklahoma.
Tropical Storm Bill: June 2015
- At least one location in eight states saw four inches or more rainfall from Bill, including Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.
- Severe flooding in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
- Record river flooding on Washita River at Dickson, Oklahoma, West Mustang Creek near Ganado, Texas, the Lavaca River near Edna, Texas, and the James River near Springfield, Missouri.
Early July 2015
- July 7: Wettest day on record in Abilene, Texas (8.26 inches). Major flooding, water rescues throughout the city and also in San Angelo, Texas.
- Roaring Fork State Park near Cassville, Missouri, flooded.
- July 8: Flooding prompted evacuations in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
- Flooding also stretched into parts of Kentucky and Indiana.
August 31, 2015
- One to four feet of water inundated much of Brownsville, Texas.
- Numerous vehicles and dozens of properties were flooded.
October 8-9, 2015
- Deadly flash flooding swamps Eagle Pass, Texas.
- Two were killed, 60 left homeless.
- The city reported 90 water rescues ongoing at one time during the flood.
Patricia’s Ghost: October 21-25, 2015
- Leftover upper-level energy and moisture from eastern Pacific Hurricane Patricia contributed to massive flooding in much of Texas and parts of Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
- Over 20 inches of rain swamped Corsicana, Texas, inundating a stretch of Interstate 45.
- Over 100 roads damaged or washed out in Navarro County, Texas.
- Flash flooding also in Austin and Houston.
- Fourth wettest calendar day on record in New Orleans (8.67 inches on October 25).
- Second wettest calendar day on record in Austin, Texas. Flooding prompted the tower at Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport to close. Nearly 600 homes flooded in Travis County.
- The Blanco River flooded both San Marcos and Wimberley, Texas, just five months after the destructive Memorial Day flood.
- Interstate 45 was once again flooded near Corsicana, Texas.
- Lake Mexia, Texas, rose to 4 feet above normal pool, prompting evacuations.
- Parts of the Houston metro picked up over 12 inches of rain.
- At least 20 homes were flooded in Grant Parish, Louisiana.
- Yet again, water rescues on Interstate 45 in Navarro County, Texas on November 6.
- November 17: Water rescues in Nacogdoches, Texas; washouts in Hudson and Pollock, Texas, high water in a North Shreveport neighborhood; washouts in Sharp County, Arkansas.
- November 27: More flooding in north Texas, including the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro, Johnson County, Texas; Major flooding on Trinity River at Dallas.
- Wettest November on record in Arkansas; second wettest November in Oklahoma.
December Mississippi River Flood
- Record flood crests in Okahoma, Missouri, and Illinois, including along the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
- 24-mile stretch of Interstate 44 closed due to flooding southwest of St. Louis.
- Bonnet Carre Spillway activated to divert excess Mississippi River water away from New Orleans.
March 2016 Flooding in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas
- The top rainfall total from this multi-day heavy rain event March 8-11 was just shy of 27 inches south-southeast of Monroe, Louisiana. The official airport reporting station in Monroe picked up 20.66 inches of rain.
- A least nine locations saw record crests on various rivers and bayous.
- The Sabine River at Deweyville, Texas, crested at 33.24 feet on March 15, topping the unofficial May 1884 record of 32.2 feet, due to previous record releases from Toledo Bend Reservoir well upstream. At those levels, the town of Deweyville was isolated, with numerous homes flooded and widespread, catastrophic flooding.
April 2016 Houston “Tax Day” Flood
- 10-20 inches of rain over the north and west sides of the Houston metro, not far from where the May 2016 heavy rain swath was.
- Over 6 inches of rain in parts of Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
- April 18: Second wettest calendar day on record for any official Houston area reporting station (9.92 inches at Bush Intercontinental Airport).
- Also, second wettest April day on record in Shreveport just over a month after their epic March flood.
- Major flooding on the Colorado River at Columbus, the Navidad River at Sublime, Spring Creek near Spring, and Cypress Creek near Cypress.
Late April 2016 Deadly Palestine, Texas, Flash Flood
- Just under 8 inches of rain triggered deadly flash flooding in Palestine, Texas, on April 29.
- Five family members were swept away by floodwaters and drowned. Water reportedly reached the roof top of the home.
- Two vehicles in Lake Charles, Louisiana were swept away, and several cars were submerged on Interstate 49 near Carencro, Louisiana. Water reportedly entered homes in that area, as well.
- Water rescues were also performed in Lewisville, Arkansas, and homes in Gin City, Arkansas, took on water.
May 16, 2016: Corpus Christi, Texas
- Locally over a foot of rain triggered flash flooding early on May 16.
- Numerous water rescues were performed.
- Water was reportedly over the roofs of cars on the city’s southeast side.
- Residents of Ingleside had to be rescued from their homes.
Late May-Early June 2016 Flood Siege
- A parade of thunderstorm clusters across central and southeast Texas on May 26-27 laid down a swath of 10-20 inches of rain from just southeast of the city of Austin to the far northern suburbs of Houston.
- An observer east of Brenham, Texas, measured an incredible 20.50 inches of rain on May 27, alone, the wettest day on record, there dating to 1897.
- Austin-Bergstrom Airport picked up 8.79 inches of rain the previous day, their second wettest calendar day dating to 1942. Amazingly, their wettest day was just about seven months prior, when 12.49 inches of rain on October 30, 2015 prompted the airport tower to close.
- The Brazos River at Richmond (near Rosenberg) crested on June 2, 4.4 feet above its previous record set on Oct. 21, 1994.
- Several locations in the far northern suburbs of Houston flooded in April and again in late May 2016.
- Some rivers in southeast Texas, including Spring Creek, the San Jacinto, and Trinity Rivers, also flooded one year ago almost to the day of this late May/early June flood. In most of these cases, flood crests topped those from May 2015.
- Nine soldiers stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas, were killed when their truck was washed away by flooding during a training exercise.
Source: Jonathan Erdman, Weather.com