A large storm system caused a train to derail in Texas. High water due to severe flooding resulted in a Union Pacific train derailment early Saturday morning near Corsicana, which is about 50 miles south of Dallas. The flood waters originated from an overflowing creek that washed away the tracks, CBS News reports.
Jeff DeGraff, a railroad spokesman, said that two crew members managed to swim safely to high ground and that no one was injured.
The train that derailed in Texas consisted of one locomotive and several rail cars that had gravel loaded onto them. When they tumbled into the water, they were partially submerged. It wasn’t immediately clear how many rail cars crashed because it was hard to survey the scene due to flooding, DeGraff said.
According to a report published by Fox News, DeGraff said that the train that derailed near Dallas was headed from Midlothian to Houston. He added that there were 64 rail cars on the fleet, but wasn’t sure how many had crashed into flood waters.
The LA Times had a little more on DeGraff’s statements after the train derailed in Texas. He acknowledged environmental concerns and hazards that could be related to the derailment.
“There is some concern about some diesel fuel releasing from the locomotives, but we have an environmental team out there monitoring the water and the train itself, and if there is any sign release we have remediation materials on hand ready to deploy,” DeGraff said.
Navarro County Sherrif Elmer Tanner said that environmental teams were assessing the derailment scene to determine whether there will be any hazardous material issues.
— WBTV News (@WBTV_News) October 24, 2015
The train derailed in Texas after torrential rainfall separate from Hurrican Patricia impacted the area. Patricia hit Mexico on Friday, but Texas expects to feel the effects of the hurricane as more rain is on the way for Sunday. Interstate 45 was closed on Saturday, which is a major highway between Dallas and Houston. Flooding continued to spread over a 36-hour period with 75 high-water rescues being dispatched. Tanner said right now the priority lies with protecting the citizens and not even thinking about assessing damages yet. National Weather Service meteorologist in Fort Worth, Matt Stalley, said that Navarro County has taken the hardest hits with rainfall within the state.
“That’s definitely been the epicenter for the rainfall we have seen, over 20 inches, the main bull’s-eye,” Stalley said.
According to the report, Stalley said that the area was overcome by a combination of a “big dip in the jet stream to the west, a steady flow of moisture north from the Gulf of Mexico and the remains of Hurricane Patricia.” Stalley went on to say that the “heaviest rain axis will continue to be just south of the Interstate 20 corridor, anywhere from Waco to Corsicana” into late Saturday. A few more inches of rain through Sunday is expected.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) October 24, 2015
Dallas was smacked with about eight inches of rain. Flooding was so severe that it caused the closure of 10 streets. Stalley explained that the biggest issue has been localized flash flooding due to the heavy rainfall. Trinity and Sabine rivers have risen to moderate levels throughout the storm system. The meteorologist thinks that water levels in rivers will decrease by Sunday as they drain into reservoirs. Since it was a dry summer, there may be space for extra water to run off. The whole state is taking a beating from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia.
It’s not every day that a train derails, but in Texas the formula is perfect for such scenarios. The unusual high water and intense storm system qualifies for treacherous conditions.
[Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot]