Amarillo, TX - Overnight rains flooded many streets throughout Amarillo.
Law enforcement took extra precaution Monday night after one to three inches of rain quickly accumulated across the city. In just a couple hours, many Amarillo roadways became impassable due to high flood waters.
Amarillo police closed underpasses downtown on both Buchanan and Fillmore. I-40 and Washington as well as I-40 and Ross were also closed due to flooding.
Several water rescues took place around town from drivers who did not heed the high waters.
The rain not only caused problems for drivers, but for police officers trying to protect those drivers from flooded areas. An officer in an unmarked patrol car blocked off an underpass at 6th and Bowie. A pickup collided with the car and both the driver and the officer were transported to the hospital, treated and then released.
About 25 minutes later, another patrol car blocking flooded areas was hit in the 3800 block of Western Street. The officer was sent to the hospital and the driver was booked into the Randall County Jail. Police said the driver, Alex Gurrola, showed signs of intoxication and arrested him for driving under the influence. The officer was treated for minor injuries and then released.
While the City of Amarillo continues to pump flooded playa lakes, Assistant City Manager Bob Cowell said addressing drainage problems, especially during a storm like last night, is not so easy. "We're always trying to make improvements on the drainage system," said Cowell. "Some of it is just maintaining what we have. Others are putting new systems in place and certainly we do those. But you can't really design nor afford nor construct the type of system that would be needed to deal with the kind of storm we got last night."
The next time it rains, officials ask drivers to pay attention to barricades placed at flooded intersections and to take alternative routes instead of braving the water.