Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Director Mark Gower said over the past two days, the state has had 29 counties affected by severe storms, weather and flooding. He said associated water rescues are expected to continue throughout the next day or so.
Here’s a look at conditions around the area on Tuesday:
The south and west sides of Bartlesville are going to be under water for several days, Washington County Commissioner Mike Bouvier said Tuesday.
Monday night to Tuesday morning the Caney River rose to 17 feet, about 4 feet over flood level.
“The Corps of Engineers said they’re going to open the flood gates at (Copan and Hula Lakes) which will bring the flood level up to 19.1 feet by 7 p.m.,” he said. “That means these low-lying areas will stay flooded for a few days.”
Main areas hit include areas off Oklahoma 123 on the west side of town and areas off the west side of U.S. 75 on the Silver Lake Road thoroughfare — which is the former route of U.S. 75.
“One of our housing additions that backs up to the Lowe’s (at Adams Road and Silver Lake Road) all of that area is flooding now,” he said.
A stretch of Silver Lake Road to the south has several feet of water over the top for a section of a quarter- to a half-mile. The flooding is serious, but some perspective helps, he said.
“Looking back at 1984 or ‘86, the Lowe’s wasn’t there and the water was halfway up Adams Boulevard (U.S. 60). It was even more then, if you can imagine, it was at 27 feet, so eight more feet of water.”
Bird Creek continued to rise and flood the town of Avant off Oklahoma 11 between Skiatook and Barnsdall.
Brandy and Mike Lavendoski drove their car to the local Post Office and walked back to town to retrieve their daughter and two granddaughters. He was barefoot in shorts, she wore leather work boots.
“I don’t know why I wore these, they weigh a ton wet,” Brandy Lavendoski said. Their own home had knee-deep water in the yard, but their daughter’s home was “chest deep for my (10-year-old) granddaughters,” she said.
“Time to head for high ground,” Mike Lavendoski said.
Many roads in Skiatook were completely blocked off from travel and local businesses near the intersection of Oklahoma 20 and 11 were closed due to flooding.
Many local residents have found their homes or cars under water and several cars were swept off the roads and are in ditches.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol was in downtown Skiatook with an air boat doing water rescues Tuesday afternoon as the water continued to rise.
Bird Creek reached 36.42 feet and most of the town experienced flooding. Flood level for Bird Creek in town is 17 feet.
Skiatook Lake is 12.08 feet above normal. The beach at Tall Chief Cove is completely underwater and closed. Dock ramps are underwater at Cross Timbers Marina.
Wagoner County Emergency Management Director Heath Underwood said emergency services personnel across the county made a little more than 30 water rescues overnight. The hardest hit area was 31st Street to 51st Street between 225th East Avenue and the Wagoner County line.
In some cases, two to three feet of water had risen inside some of the affected homes.
As for the auto rescues, Underwood said the majority of cases were vehicles that had simply been swept off into ditches. Vehicles were taking on water rather quickly.
“A lot of the motorists were trying to get home and ended up driving off the road,” he explained. “One elderly man was going to rescue his grandson who was stuck in the water and he got sucked in, as well.”
Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd said the Spring River and Neosho River near Miami are close to breaking flooding records.
“We helped evacuate the south end Miami Fire Department,” said Floyd, whose department helped with more than a dozen water rescues.
By Wednesday, Floyd expects Steve Owens Boulevard and Riverview Park to be under water and Northeast Oklahoma A&M College to be evacuated.