ICYMI: Severe storms swamp New Orleans ahead of Barry; Historic flooding in Nebraska turns fatal, forces hundreds to evacuate
By Mark Puleo, AccuWeather staff writer
July 12, 2019, 9:50:16 AM EDT
This past week was marked by extreme flooding in numerous regions across the United States. Some of the most dramatic flooding was seen in New Orleans, as nearly 8 inches of rain were reported in some areas, and severe thunderstorms forced much of the city to shut down on Wednesday.
Falling ahead of a churning tropical system, which later was named Tropical Storm Barry, the flooding rain sparked a flash flood emergency for Jefferson Parish. An EarthCam posted in the French Quarter captured video of New Orleans' iconic Bourbon Street underwater as cars navigated the intersection and heavy rain continued falling.
Along with the flooding fears came threats of tornado warnings. While no tornadoes were confirmed, images of a waterspout over Lake Pontchartrain spread around social media. On Twitter, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said that drivers should avoid commonly flooded areas such as under bridges or overpasses. She also added that drivers exceeding 5 mph could be ticketed.
Later Wednesday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a state of emergency for the entire state as preparations were frantically underway to prepare for Barry's significant flood threat.
(AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
(AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
(AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Flooding also caused major traffic issues on the East Coast in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas on Monday. As floodwaters overflowed roads, numerous water rescues had to be performed and several roads in downtown Washington had to be closed on Monday.
The poor weather conditions forced Amtrak to stop all trains south of D.C.’s Union Station, and the runway at Fredrick Municipal Airport was also flooded.
In Arlington, Virginia, the Reagan National Airport had 3.3 inches of rainfall over the course of an hour, nearly matching a month’s total for the area.
The U.S. National Archives building was also affected by the intense rainfall, as the building lost power and the flooding caused vast electrical issues. Photos emerged on social media of flooding in the White House basement while the second floor entrance of the Pentagon building also had leaks, according to a CNN correspondent.
The heavy flooding caused two notable sinkholes as well, both in Potomac, Maryland. One emerged in the middle of a busy street, while the other appeared under a home. According to WJLA-TV News Reporter Sam Sweeney, that home was in danger of collapsing, as much of the backyard has already collapsed into the basement.
Extreme flooding also dealt a blow in Nebraska this past week, as over 300 people were evacuated in Kearney, according to the city’s emergency management coordinator. The evacuations were due to river flooding fears. On Wednesday, the first death from the weather was confirmed.
Shelly Masoner, a 46-year-old Eustis woman, was killed when her car rolled and flipped into a ditch filled with water. The vehicle had been caught in moving water on Nebraska Highway 21, according to Dawson County Sheriff Ken Moody.
The city of Kearney received 9 inches of rain on Monday, according to CNN. According to city estimates, about 800 vehicles were flooded in the city. Communities around the Wood River were strongly advised to evacuate, as the river was expected to crest at 16.8 feet.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts analyzed the flood's wreckage and said 2019 has already been the wettest year on record in Nebraska.
"We were able to see the damage from the air," Ricketts said during a press conference. "The state has been providing sandbags and as always, we tell people that if they see water on roads they should stop."
"The first line of defense, as always, has been local communities," Ricketts added. "I want to thank all the local emergency managers, the first responders and everyone that has pitched in to keep people safe."
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Earlier in the week, soaking rain forced NASCAR officials to halt the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday before bringing the race to an early finish.
Lightning from nearby thunderstorms in the area had caused the red flag to be waved after 127 laps of the race. Two hours later, officials deemed the race officially completed due to the inclement weather.
Oppositely, Alaskans dealt with yet another record-breaking week of heat and dryness. The city of Bethel recorded an 86-degree Fahrenheit day on Sunday, breaking the previous daily record of 83 from 1972. On Tuesday, the city of King Salmon recorded its sixth consecutive day of breaking or matching its daily high temperature record.
From June 28 to July 7, Anchorage set seven new daily high temperature records while the city saw thermometers read 90 F degrees on the Fourth of July, a first on record.
Across the globe, a powerful earthquake struck Iran on Monday, causing widespread damage in the town of Masjid Soleiman. One death has been reported and dozens were treated for injuries in the aftermath.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake registered as a magnitude 5.7. The impacts disrupted electricity and water supplies to affected areas.
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