Mexico and USA – Floods Hit Texas and Tamaulipas After 30cm of Rain in 4 Hours

A violent storm hit border areas between Tamaulipas State, Mexico and Texas, USA, from 24 June 2019, bringing lightning strikes, strong winds and torrential rain. More than 12 inches (300mm) of rain fell in 4 hours in parts of Texas.

Floods hit Hidalgo and Cameron counties, Texas, USA, 24 to 25 June 2019. Photo: Texas Game Warden

Tamaulipas, Mexico

In Mexico, the worst affected areas are in the municipality of Reynosa, where authorities say over 50 neighbourhoods were affected. Flooding damaged roads, homes and medical centres. Local media reported that at least one person died in the floods.

Teams from police, military and emergency service including civil protection, carried out evacuations and rescues. State Civil Protection have been distributing relief supplies to affected communities. Francisco Javier García Cabeza de Vaca, Governor of Tamaulipas, toured some of the affected areas on 25 June.

Floods rescues in Reynosa, Mexico, June 2019. Photo: Government of Tamaulipas

Texas, USA

Reynosa is situated on the Rio Grande river, along the border with Texas, USA, where heavy rainfall was also reported.

NWS Brownsville said that lareg parts of the Rio Grande Valley saw 6 to 12 inches (152mm to 305 mm) of rain during the storm, and more than 12 inches in the city of Harlingen.

Flooding affected parts of Hidalgo County where Monte Alto was among the worst hit areas. Harlingen in Cameron County also saw severe flooding.  Streets were blocked and around 50 people (17 families) were evacuated from flooded homes.

In a statement, the City of Harlingen said that “Monday night’s unexpected rain event caused flash flooding in several areas of the City.  The heavy rainfall temporarily exceeded the five-year designed capacity of the City’s interior storm drainage system.  Weather reports indicate more than 12 ½ inches (317.5mm) of rain pounded Harlingen within a 3-4 hour time period.  This amount of rainfall is classified between a 100-500 year storm event.”

Strong winds also caused severe damage. NWS Brownsville said “A severe thunderstorm produced sporadic straight line wind damage from Monte Alto to portions of north Elsa during the evening of June 24th. Peak winds were estimated at 65 to 75 mph.” Around 15,000 were left without power across Willacy, Hidalgo and Cameron Counties.

Authorities have preventively closed the Anzaldúas and Hidalgo international bridges between the 2 countries.

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