Port Of Catoosa Feeling Effects Of Flooding

Friday, July 6th 2007, 8:05 pm
By: News On 6

The flooding mess has now trickled down to the Port of Catoosa and the barge channel. The Port Authority reports a major slowdown in operations because of all the high water. News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports it is a slowdown that could deeply affect Oklahoma businesses.

"The heavy rains and high flood waters have brought shipping, barge shipping almost to a standstill," said Deputy Director of the Port of Catoosa Dick Voth.

Voth says the barges aren't going anywhere anytime soon. It is because the Verdigris River is flowing too swiftly. He says on a normal day the water moves at about 20,000 cubic feet per second, but now it’s moving at about 200,000 cubic feet per second. That spells trouble for heavy barges trying to move shipments along the river.

"So it takes a lot of horsepower and a limited tow size to be able to navigate that swift water," Voth said.

Voth says they've had to lighten the loads on the barges and slow the traffic all together.

The view at the port is also very different. That’s because the water is about 17 feet above normal, and they say they expect it to continue rising. As the water continues rising the Port's barge shipping will continue to slow down. If this continues long-term it could be devastating to Oklahoma businesses that use the waterways for shipping.

"We have businesses in Oklahoma that depend very heavily on water transportation, and for the river system to be out of business for a month is going to start to affect them," said Voth.

At this point Voth says the Port of Catoosa will continue to have high flows through the end of July. That means they'll be slowed down at least through the end of July. He says they'll try to make up for lost business later in the year.

Watch the video: Flooding Threatens Business At The Port Of Catoosa

For more flooding information, check out our STORM ZONE web page.