Heavy Rain Causes Flooding In Washington, Nowata Counties
RAMONA, Oklahoma - Heavy rain has flooded rural roads across the southern third of Washington County Thursday morning.
County commissioner Mike Dunlap says roads east of Highway 75 near the community of Vera are impassible and barricades are set up.
Dunlap says the flooding came after several inches of rain fell across his county as well as Nowata and Rogers counties early Thursday.
The heavy rain caused the Caney River to rise, which led to major problems for people who live nearby.
One family said when they woke up, the road was fine, but then the water started rising sometime after 8 a.m. Flood water started lapping at their front porch and covering the surrounding yard.
"Their daughter's bedroom is down low and it's--mattresses are floating. Yeah, it's a bad thing," said Vera resident Paula Thetford.
Paula's son and his family live in the home east of Vera. Jayce Thetford left for work around 7 a.m. with no problems, but about an hour later he got a call that his home was flooded.
"It's muddy, it's nasty, it's just nasty," Jayce said.
County officials rescued the family's two dogs and everyone spent the morning packing as much as they could before the muddy water destroyed everything.
"It hurts. My room is the only one that got destroyed, but it happens," said 17-year-old Kayce Thetford.
The flood water came from nearby Saunders Creek, but that creek feeds into the Caney River.
The Thetfords say they've never seen the creek overflow this much or this quickly.
"I mean, it was pouring down rain but I didn't know it was going to be enough to flood our creek," Paula said.
The family said they're thankful that everyone made it to safety, including their beloved dogs, and they'll salvage what they can. But no matter what happens, they say they'll be fine.
"Well, you just...you deal with it, you just deal with it. The Lord's good," Paula said.
With more rain in the forecast for Thursday night, county officials warned residents to watch out for situations like this. They say if water is covering the road, do not try to driver through, it's best to just turn around.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for several rivers in northeastern Oklahoma.
- Spring River near Quapaw [Ottawa County]
- Illinois River near Tahlequah and Watts [Adair and Cherokee counties]
- Flint Creek near Kansas [Cherokee and Delaware counties]
The National Weather Service says 3 to 6 inches of rain is in the forecast through Saturday. If that occurs, flood stage would be exceeded with the potential for significant flooding.
The U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers is reporting the water level at its Caney River gauge east of Ramona in Washington County rose more than 11 feet since midnight. The gauge shows the area received more than two inches of rain between the hours of 4 and 6 a.m.
In Tulsa County, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation closed Highway 11 at 136th Street for several hours because of high water. The highway has since reopened to traffic.
The Nowata County Sheriff's Office is reporting some flooding problems in Nowata as well.
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