Heavy Rains Overwhelm Some Tulsa Streets

Thursday, May 2nd 2019, 9:06 pm

Many of Tulsa's streets flooded Tuesday night, and some drivers were stranded when they drove into high water. While some roads flooded Tuesday that rarely do, most of the flooding was reported at Tulsa’s most common trouble spots.

The rain was so heavy Tuesday evening, for a while, it had nowhere to go because the storm water system was at capacity. That led to street flooding at places like 44th and Sheridan, where many drivers attempted to go through high water.

Some didn’t make it across.

“We had some isolated street funding and had problems in our typical low spots, had to do a couple of water rescues, of people who didn't get the message of 'turn around, don't drown' and thought they could handle driving through the water,” said Joe Kralicek, the Director of Tulsa Emergency Management.

Related Story: Tulsa Police Release Identity Of Man Killed By Flood Waters 

At 31st and Sheridan, five cars flooded out, blocking the intersection about 7:15 Tuesday evening. On higher ground, at 51st and Memorial, a city rain gauge recorded 5 inches of rain. All that water went downhill - causing streets and parking lots to flood near 44th and Memorial.

Meteorologist Stephen Nehrenz explains the south side was hit by rainfall "training" through.

"And so the line was slowly moving east, there were a lot of heavy cells in that line moving southwest to northeast that kept training through the same areas, two or three hours at a time," he said.

In some of Tulsa's most chronic flood zones - the water is still draining.

Near 81st and Elwood - water is still standing, and there's signs of the high flow that went over bridges. The city used a road grader to scrape off mud and debris - and has plans for a drainage project to provide some relief down the road.

The city has a list of 57 locations with repeat damage from flooding - all on the long list for flood control work, though it will take years to get to it all.

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