Oily Water Inundate Town

Sunday, July 1st 2007, 2:20 pm
By: News On 6

More than a quarter of Coffeyville, Kansas is underwater. Kansas’ Governor has declared a state of emergency in 12 counties, including Montgomery County, which includes Coffeyville. Authorities evacuated residents on the eastside of the city after floodwaters rushed in on Sunday. But The News On 6’s Joshua Brakhage reports there's more to worry about than just the water.

People crowd the police tape at the intersection of the two biggest highways in Coffeyville. Thousands of people make their homes on the other side of the railroad underpass, but just like the road their houses are underwater.

On Sunday city crews went door to door evacuating residents before flood waters invaded their homes.

"They said you've got just a few minutes to leave, the water's coming. So we just, what we had on our back and ran," flood victim Dale Barrel said.

The flood shut down the gas stations, but the gas was still flowing on the eastside. East Coffeyville is also home to a refinery. The rushing water carried oily refinery residue throughout town. It’s now floating on top of the water, and swirling down city streets. City administrators say the oil has contaminated the storm water, but the drinking water is still safe. More good news, everyone not evacuated still has power. The city sandbagged the power substation to keep the lights on.

"It's really heartbreaking to see the amount of water and the number of our residences under water," Cindy Price with the City of Coffeyville said.

Displaced residents struggling to stay dry know it won't get any better as long as it keeps raining.

"It's sad. You know, we have no home. My pictures are gone," said flood victim Cindy White.

Even though residents do have drinking water, they're still being asked to conserve until the flood waters drop.

U.S. Highway 169 is still closed at the state line so getting to Coffeyville is a challenge. But the flood waters don't stop at the state line. Twenty families in South Coffeyville, Oklahoma are also flooded out and staying in shelters.

Watch the video: Residents Flee Contaminated Floodwaters

Watch the video: Coffeyville Residents Displaced By Flooding

WEB EXTRA: SKYNEWS 9 Aerials Of Coffeyville Flooding

Several Oklahoma creeks and rivers are rain swollen and in danger of going over their banks. Below is a list of several local waterways with possible flood dangers.

Bird Creek level at Sperry, click here.

Caney River level at Bartlesville, click here.

Deep Fork River level at Beggs, click here.

Neosho River level at Commerce, click here.

Verdigris River level at Lenapah, click here.