High-Water Rescues

Tuesday, October 9th 2007, 6:06 am
By: News On 6

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) _ The Muskogee County Sheriff's office rescued three people who became trapped in their vehicles after driving into high water left by heavy rains, authorities said. Three to 6 inches of rain may have fallen in the area between 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Monday, Muskogee County Emergency Management Director Jimmy Moore said. There were no reports of injuries.

``We've heard several reports of vehicles that had stalled in several areas around town,'' Moore said. ``I have heard no reports of any structures flooding.''

Sheriff's deputies had to rescue one woman who tried to drive through a flooded intersection. The water was so high, it covered the hood of her vehicle, Moore said.

About an hour later, deputies rescued a second woman and a child. The woman, authorities said, drove into about 3 feet of water flowing across a road.

``Individuals should not drive through any water, no matter if they feel they know the depth or not,'' County Commissioner Gene Wallace said. ``It is not safe to drive through any water at this point.''

Thomas Williams and his wife were attempting to return home from work in Tulsa but found the roads leading home covered with water. Williams wondered what could be done to resolve the neighborhoods flooding issues.

``How hard would it be to raise that road just a little bit?'' Williams said as he surveyed the expanse of rapid water that separated him and his wife from their home.

Lightning also knocked out electrical service to about 1,000 Oklahoma Gas & Electric customers statewide, but most power was restored by 4 p.m.

Eugene Blankenship, Muskogee County Emergency Management director, said there were numerous reports of flooding across the county, particularly in the eastern parts.

``I know the county has been out since this morning posting road closing signs and beginning to repair damages caused by the flooding,'' Blankenship said.

He said he saw water rise up to doorsteps in some area neighborhoods, but hadn't received any reports of flood-related structural damage.

Most of the smaller creeks in Muskogee County were receding by mid-afternoon, but larger streams were beginning to rise, officials said.