Red Cross Opens Shelter In Coweta

Monday, March 31st 2008, 3:57 pm
By: News On 6

Heavy downpours swamped many Green Country towns, where the number one threat wasn't tornados, but flash floods.  News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports Coweta was one of those towns. 

The Red Cross has set up a shelter at the First Assembly of God Church for flood victims tonight.  The storm hit fast, and hit hard.

When severe storms swept across Coweta, heavy rainfall quickly added up to big problems.  Creeks overflowed, the ground became saturated and water had nowhere else to go, but through Terry Voss's yard and into his home.

"I didn't have flood insurance, so just back to cleanup and try to get everything dried out," said Terry Voss.

What didn't damage homes, swept across Highway 51.

"I've never seen this underwater right here.  I've never seen it like this," said Jerry Holmes.

Jerry Holmes waited out the storm.  Others took their chances crossing the swift moving water.  But, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the water was two feet deep over some stretches of Highway 51, so they closed one section of the highway.

"Yes, it was underwater a few minutes ago, I haven't looked at it in the last few minutes," said OHP Trooper Gary Fears.

Trooper Gary Fears says in more than 24 years in Coweta, he's never seen flooding so bad on this stretch of the highway

"Just like to advise people to take it easy, do not drive in the high water. It doesn't take but or 3-4 inches for a car to start floating," said Trooper Gary Fears.

The high water was considered too dangerous for school buses to run afternoon routes, so students were kept safe inside, until the water receded and parents could pick up students.

The water that swept across Highway 51 was two feet deep in some places, and to make matters worse, it was picking up a lot of debris from our recent ice storm.  So not only do drivers have to worry about the high water, they also have to worry about what's underneath.

"It's really dangerous, you really don't know how deep the water is, so you want to slow down, go through it carefully and if it looks like it is too deep, you don't want to go through it, you want to turn around and go the other way," said Richard Lowrance.

Troopers say that's the best strategy.  They don't want a bad situation made worse, possibly going from dangerous to deadly.

For more information about the Red Cross shelter, contact the Red Cross at 831-1109.  Residents can also report damage to their homes by calling that number.  

You can track the storms with WARN Interactive Radar and get safety tips in our Storm Zone Section. 

You can get the latest WARN Team forecast in the Weather section.