Sudden Deluge Floods Businesses, Snarls Traffic

The first line of storms this morning came in with a lot of lightning and too much rain. For people driving outside, and others just minding their own business inside, it was more than some could handle.

The storms came in not long after first light and the darkness won out. It was like evening, only broken by bolts of lightning signaling the deluge to come. East Texas is used to rain, but in parts of Smith County, there were reports of over three inches of rain in just an hour.

In Tyler, drivers kept pushing their luck and pushing the water higher around buildings and homes. Street crews had their hands full, though there was little they could do. A river usually doesn't run through downtown, but from Line Street to the downtown depot, the water was everywhere.

It was Nature's "express" pulling into the station.

Nancy Childress dodged lightning bolts near Lindale.  "The lightning looked like it was off a ways and flashed, but overhead it looked like electricity flashing over the top of me and it was just crackling."

It wasn't lightning at a gas station in Lindale, but employees say a torrent of water was coming through the roof and in the doors.

At the same place, I-20 and Highway 69, things got very dangerous according to Police Chief Sheryl Bolton, "People won't slow down on the wet roads."

A chain-reaction crash started with a pickup truck flipping on its side on an off-ramp. When traffic slowed suddenly an 18 wheeler skidded into the median, sending a light pole crashing down on a sedan in the opposite lane.  Fortunately, no one was hurt, but it's something Chief Bolton sees too much on days like this.

The best advice, of course, never to drive through water if you can't see the road beneath.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.