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Crash reactions double during rainstorms in DFW – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

A near-constant rainstorm in Dallas-Fort Worth kept first responders busy Saturday.

In Arlington, Michael Merrell felt a jolt around 8:30 am

“We heard loud lightning and thunder from the storm, and it seemed super close,” he said. “The house shook a little.”

They believe lightning struck their electrical box or nearby and caused a fire, destroying their garage.

“Total electrical rebuild; the panels are fried and burned,” Merrell said.

Thunderstorms were accompanied by persistent rain, closing roads across the metroplex, including part of Old Granbury Road in Fort Worth.

The city’s stormwater team said they responded to 20 locations out of an abundance of caution.

Drivers in Dallas, Colleyville and Garland were among those who encountered closed roads.

Video shows water entering the Perot Museum garage after a storm drain broke.

“It was a very tough day for first responders in the area,” said Matt Zavadsky, spokesman for MedStar, which provides ambulance services to Fort Worth and 13 surrounding cities.

As of late Saturday afternoon, Zavadsky said they had responded to 43 crashes, 23 of which resulted in someone being transported to a hospital.

“While it is difficult for us to KNOW if any of these issues were weather related, by this time last Saturday we had only responded to 20 comments, with seven of them resulting in someone going to local hospitals,” he said.

One of the crash crews responded to Saturday was near East Berry Street and Yuma Drive.

Fort Worth police said three cars were involved, sending three people to the hospital. One of them died.

According to police, it is still too early to say whether the weather played a role in the accident.

“If you have high speeds, wet roads and some puddles, it is more than likely that this is causing the significant increase in accidents that we saw today,” Zavadsky said.

He said the trend is higher than MedStar normally sees.

“During a normal rain event, we typically see a 20% to 25% increase in vehicle crashes. A 100% to 115% increase in vehicle crashes is very unusual,” he said.

Zavadsky said this could have something to do with the fact that Saturday brought several hours of rain.

“So there are a lot of puddles on the roads that lead to hydroplaning at high speeds, which is probably the cause of a lot of these accidents,” he said.