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In case you missed it: Intense videos of water rescues highlight why you should never drive into floodwaters

By Adriana Navarro, AccuWeather staff writer
May 10, 2019, 7:03:15 PM EDT

After a slow-moving storm hit the central U.S. earlier in the week, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood watches and warnings Monday for much of eastern Kansas and western Missouri as areas of the Mississippi River continued to rise. As the waters overtook riverbanks and levees, roads closed and people were forced to evacuate from their homes.

About 150 people were displaced on Sunday after a levee breach in St. Charles, Missouri, and closed roads remained out of service into Monday. Places such as the RV park in St. Charles County, Missouri, sat under 10 feet of flood water.

As the week progressed, those watches traveled down the Mississippi River as the river swelled from the excess rain.

Illinois flood 5-4-2019

Flood water is pumped over the flood wall back into the Mississippi River from a basement in downtown Alton, Illinois on May 4, 2019. The Mississippi River is expected to crest at 32 feet on 5/7/2019, about six feet below the record levels of the 1993 flood. (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

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Power went out in some of the flooded areas from Mississippi to Texas. A powerful storm that rattled the south-central U.S. on Wednesday into Thursday killed at least one person in Austin when a man was swept away by raging floodwaters.

At least 17 preliminary tornadoes were reported on Tuesday as a part of the system, and four more followed on Wednesday. At least four people were injured.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency in response to the severe weather that impacted the state on Wednesday, as well as the flooding rainfall that has since followed.

Severe weather swept across southeastern Texas once again Thursday night, slamming Houston with large hail, gusty winds and flooding downpours.

Hail Texas 5-9-19 #1

This image shows a golf ball-sized hailstone in Houston on Thursday evening. (Twitter/@DeathByBlondie)

The ground was already saturated from previous rainfall. As rain continued to fall, measuring almost 3 inches in nearly half an hour at The Galveston/Scholes Field Airport, flooding ensued.

Emergency management urged motorists to stay off the roads until the rain receded, but some drivers persisted.

A Texas police officer's body camera captured footage of a dramatic rescue of three woman and a dog after their car had been caught in rushing water on a bridge.

The Austin Police Department shared the video of the three officers Kevin Perrydore, Benjamin Cochran and Matthew Valli jumping into action.

water rescue texas 5-8-2019

(Facebook video/The Austin Police Department)

All three women and their dog were pulled to safety. Their vehicle, however, was pushed over the side of the bridge by the rising water, showing the power of seemingly low levels of water.

"As the grounds are saturated, these are perfect conditions for flash floods, so we encourage people to just be cautious of what they're doing and encourage them to stay home," Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said in an interview on Twitter. "There's no sense in putting yourself, first responders, firefighters or anybody in danger needlessly."

With waters rising in Texas and along the Mississippi River, videos continue to pop up of people driving through floodwaters.

According to the National Weather Service, just a foot of moving water is enough to carry off a small car, and 18 to 24 inches can sweep away larger trucks, vans and SUVs. Sometimes seemingly shallow waters can lead to deep consequences.

"Driving on flooded roads can be deceptively hazardous as one cannot always accurately gauge the depth of the water one may attempt to drive through," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Randy Adkins said. "Cars need air to 'breathe,' and driving through standing water runs the risk of the car breathing in water, drowning the engine similarly to how a human would drown. Additionally, it doesn’t take much depth when water is flowing rapidly to lift a car off the road and to sweep it away, so it is never advised to drive where water is quickly flowing across a roadway."

The flooding that has been occurring in Paraguay has displaced approximately 40,000 people since March according to government officials.

The rising water levels are the result of intense rain overwhelming the Paraguay River. According to recent data, the river has reached up to 6.92 meters (227 feet) in height. This is almost three meters (about 10 feet) above its levels at a normal stage.


The Santa Ana neighborhood is flooded in Asuncion, Paraguay, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Officials say they’ve had to evacuate some 40,000 people due to unusually heavy rains since March. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

According to Paraguay's minister of the National Emergency Secretariat Joaquín Roa, more than 10,000 of the evacuees have been relocated to places from the country's capital, Asución, to nearby roads.

The country's cattle industry has also taken a hit from the ongoing flooding according to The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the United Nations and Indian officials have credited a relatively low death toll to the mass evacuation before Cyclone Fani hit India and Bangladesh.

Compared to a "super" cyclone that had hit India in 1999 and had killed about 10,000 people, Fani has claimed roughly 60 lives. At least 42 people died in India after Fani slammed into the coast of the state of Odisha on May 3, there were another 17 deaths reported in Bangladesh.

Officials say the total may rise as communications are restored.

The heatwave through India that followed the cyclone not helped in the recovery, having caused at least three deaths from sunstroke in Andhra Pradesh, according to OneIndia.

In some areas of northern India, temperatures reached over 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit).

In a colder corner of the world, Minnesota was on the receiving end of a winterlike storm that unleashed historic snow amounts in some locations on Wednesday into Thursday.

Duluth, Minnesota, received 10.6 inches of snow from this event, attributing to the 10.9 inches total for the month of May and breaking the previous monthly record of 8.1 inches set over 60 years ago, according to the National Weather Service.

May 8 is now the single snowiest day for the month in Duluth's history. The previous single snowiest day in May was May 10, 1902, when 5.5 inches fell.

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