HollyFrontier’s Tulsa refinery suspended operations Thursday as a result of Arkansas River flooding.
The refinery is on the river’s west side at 902 W. 25th St.
“Due to high water in the Tulsa area, the HollyFrontier Tulsa Refinery is temporarily shutting down operations as a precautionary measure for the safety of our employees, contractors, community and operations,” HollyFrontier spokeswoman Liberty Swift said in a statement. “With more inclement weather expected, we encourage everyone in the community to heed the warnings from emergency management officials, be alert and stay safe.”
A publicly traded firm based in Dallas, HollyFrontier Corp. employs about 650 full-time workers in Tulsa, where it has operated since 2009. In Tulsa, it processes 125,000 barrels per day of crude oil, providing gasoline and diesel in Oklahoma and across the mid-continent region of the United States.
At the Kimberly-Clark paper plant in Jenks, operations are running normally, and the company is monitoring the impact on employees and neighbors, Terry Balluck, Kimberly-Clark global communications spokesman, said in an email.
Casino closed to at least Sunday
The River Spirit Casino Resort will remain closed through at least Sunday.
“We remain fortunate that our engineering design accounted for a 100-year-flood. However, this level of water was not a previous measurement,” CEO Pat Crofts said in a press release.
The increased flow in the Arkansas River pushed water onto the parking lots, front service road, subterranean parking and the service road leading to the resort’s loading docks.
“All of the Resort hotel, Margaritaville and Ruth’s Chris restaurants, Margaritaville and River Spirit Casinos, Paradise Cove Theater all remain, and will remain, dry,” Croft said. “The Resort Pool is at the biggest risk at this time.”
Hotel guests were relocated to other properties on Wednesday when the resort closed as flood waters rose. Guests with reservations through the weekend are being contacted to reschedule, and ticket holders for the “Southern Momma” event on Saturday night will receive refunds.
Bixby residents evacuate
Four days ago, Stephen McCullough was working in West Virginia when talk started of potential flooding in his neighborhood. Remembering the 1986 flood, McCullough immediately began the trek back home to Bixby, while his wife, Dawn, and family friends began preparing for the worst.
On Thursday afternoon he, his wife and pets evacuated his home of five years in the Windriver Edition, near 121st and Riverside. They were able to move much of their belongings from the first to second floor then loaded the rest in a 26-foot U-Haul and departed.
Before leaving, they wrapped the house in 5-foot blue tarp and sandbagged it in preparation to try to prevent damage. Many of their neighbors’ houses look similar.
“I’m concerned about what’s to come, but I’m good right now,” he said. “I’m hoping for the best but anticipate we won’t be back for at least a week to find out.”
“We knew we weren’t moving into a flood zone but also knew we would be in trouble if there was ever a super flood like I’ve seen happen with the Mississippi River. Now, here we are.”
Jodi Mireles said after a neighborhood good Samaritan delivered sand bags to their driveway and then the power went out is when she and her family knew it was time to evacuate their Bixby home, located in the Scissortail at Wind River edition.
“We’re friends with most of the people on our street, and it’s been really something to see everyone come together and help each other prepare after crap hit the fan,” Mireles said.
She, her husband, Isai, and three children moved most their belongings upstairs and prepped the exterior for impending flooding. Then they evacuated to her parents house for at least the next four days.
“My husband is a musician, so we made sure to grab his computer and keyboard,” Mireles said. “I’m a hair stylist, so I made sure to grab all my clients’ weaves. They’re super expensive. Hashtag save the weaves.”