The emergency management crew monitoring the weather believes flooding is likely at many of the known trouble spots in Tulsa County, and though it hasn't flooded in several years, Bird Creek is one of those spots.
Bird Creek has been a frequent problem on the north side of Tulsa though lately it's been trouble free during the drought.
But the water from the last few weeks of rain is still high, high enough that a heavy rainfall in the watershed could push it over flood stage. "It's going to be a doozy if it does that much," said Worley's Nursery staff member Mo Moline.
That's why in Skiatook, at Highway 11 and 20, Worley's Nursery is getting ready. "Raised everything up, and we know from the past where the level has been, so we just raise everything up, brace for the flood and hope for the best," said Moline.
At the River Forecast Center, they're hoping too, but the expectation is flooding. The question is where. "We are expecting this to be a life threatening event, especially when it's dark and the heavy rain is occurring, that's when you don't want to drive through flood areas,” explained River Forecast Center Hydrologist James Paul. “You don't want to do that during the day, but at night it's even more important to avoid those areas if possible."
With the rivers high and the soil saturated, emergency managers are preparing for a flood event like Memorial Day weekend. "We will have rescue crews out and about and ready to respond, but we don't want to get into that situation if we don't have to," says City of Tulsa representative Kim MacLeod.
But the city says it's preparing to respond to all sorts of flood emergencies as soon as they're reported. “In rains like this, there will be street flooding, with just 2-3 inches of rain,” stated MacLeod. “We'll have street flooding and we'll have sanitary sewer overflows, and manhole covers dislodged from the hole and in the street, so we need people to report those things when they see them."
Bird Creek crested last Saturday from the last significant rainfall. It's dropped about five inches where it crosses Mingo since then.
There's some room in the channel; it can go up ten feet before it starts flooding.