DALLAS – At least five people lost their lives and hundreds were left homeless after devastating storms early Monday swept across North Texas, leaving whole neighborhoods under water.
The worst of the damage stretched from Gainesville to Sherman, where flash floods trapped victims in their homes and in their cars, the water surging 6 to 8 feet deep in some areas before it receded as quickly as it came.
Gone are two young girls – pulled from their mothers’ arms – a grandmother and another young child, who was still missing late Monday. A Denison woman died on her way to work, her Jeep overwhelmed by the water. Rescuers found another man, still unidentified, in his pickup in the receding flood.
“Mobile homes floated away like boats,” Haltom City Deputy Fire Chief Fred Napp said.
The force of the flooding dragged a school bus downstream in Sherman. The water cut the Arnett family’s mobile home from an embankment along Pecan Creek in Gainesville, tumbling it into a bridge and dumping four members of the family into the flood waters.
Rescue crews later recovered the bodies of 5-year-old Teresa Arnett and her grandmother, Billie Mollenhour, 60. Teresa’s 2-year-old sister was missing. Their mother, Lisa Arnett, had clung to both until the water pulled them from her.
Alexandria Collins, 4, died after slipping from the arms of her mother, Natasha, when their rescue boat capsized in Haltom City.
Patricia Beshears, 48, died while driving to work in Sherman when her Jeep stalled and the flood covered it before she could escape.
Rescue crews were still going door to door in some portions of the city late Monday as flood waters receded, and helicopters flew over several of the hardest-hit neighborhoods.
It was in one of those neighborhoods that Rosa Garcia got ready for work early Monday, only to find flood waters rushing into her home.
“I opened up the door, and the water started coming in. I ran,” Garcia said.
She quickly reached an upstairs attic and climbed out the window onto the roof with her 4-year-old son, David, and 8-year-old nephew, Eduardo Morales. There they waited for five hours for rescue crews to pick them up with a crane.
Down the street, Joe and Sherry Clark watched as their 5-year-old horse, Baby Girl, was washed away by flood waters. Rescue workers spotted her a short time later swimming several blocks away.
“We’re just glad we found her,” Joe Clark said. “Now, as for our home, it’s gone. There’s nothing left.”