Officials Ask People Living Along The Arkansas River To Evacuate

Wednesday, May 29th 2019, 11:37 pm
By: Justin Shrair

Officials have been keeping a close eye on the release levels and the impact they are having on west Tulsa’s 70-year-old levee system.

Deputies are now asking more people who live near the Arkansas river to evacuate.

The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office is asking people who live in the area to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice if need be and they made themselves very clear.  

If you live anywhere in the area near 81st West Avenue and 71st West Ave near Charles Page Boulevard chances are you heard this and saw this massive vehicle driving through your neighborhood.

"We are acting on the side of caution right now for our citizens," said Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado.

That is why the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office drove around in their MRAP, or Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, warning people on their loudspeaker and asking them to leave. The Sheriff’s Office also said they went door to door.

"By the looks of it, it really stresses the importance of what we are doing through here and how serious we are about these impending evacuations," said Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado. 

The Sheriff's Office says at this point, it's a voluntary evacuation but everyone should have a plan in place, even though they're releasing less water from the Keystone Dam.

"Good news we have a pool that is falling and we started to decrease the release rates out of Keystone this afternoon at 4 o'clock," said David Williams, Chief of the Hydrology and Hydraulics Engineering section for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Tulsa. 

The Corps said the plan is to reduce those rates, even more, every six hours and that it will take time several days, for many who live downstream to see the effect.

As for those driving around barricades, the Sheriff said, "we are asking people to abide by those, they are there for a reason don't go around them and if you do you will be cited". 

He also said to be ready in case a levee breaks.

 "At minimum be prepared to leave at a moments notice," said Sheriff Vic Regalado, the Sheriff for  Tulsa County.

For now, the levee at 65th West Avenue is holding. We'll keep you updated if anything changes.

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