Heavy storms leave more then 8 inches of rain in eastern Oklahoma

Saturday, July 3rd 2004, 5:50 pm
By: News On 6

POCOLA, Okla. (AP) _ Record high rainfall in eastern Oklahoma washed out bridges and trapped a family in high water after their campsite flooded, officials said Saturday.

Storms that began early Friday and went into the night dropped more than 8 inches of rain in some areas, according to the National Weather Service.

Fast-moving flood waters stranded a family on high land in Delaware County after their campsite was washed out early Saturday.

Delaware County officials rescued the family who was standing on a parcel of high ground amid swirling flood waters at about 6 a.m. Saturday, Delaware County officials said.

Fast-moving flood waters also swept up vehicles as they sat in driveways, Delaware County officials said.

No injuries were reported.

In LeFlore County, Spiro got 8.18 inches of rain during a 24-hour period ending Saturday morning, said Robert Darby, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tulsa.

The July average for rainfall in that area is about 2.8 inches.

Despite the deluge, most major roads were clear, said Amanda Baxter, who works at Marvin's IGA in Spiro.

``All the roads I took into work were clear,'' she said. ``We had some water standing in our parking lot, but it's not that bad.''

LeFlore County officials did not have any reports of injuries or major damage.

Webbers Falls received 8.12 inches of rain. Its average amount for July is 2.5 inches.

Rain there washed out a bridge and flooded roadways, said Joseph Garrett, a Webbers Falls police officer.

``The flooding is mostly on back streets,'' Garrett said. ``There's some water up in town over one of the roads.''

Heavy rains also washed out a bridge in Pocola and water rushed through homes in some areas, said Nena Kent, a police dispatcher in Pocola, a community of about 3,600 located near the Oklahoma-Arkansas border.

The bridge, on a side street near downtown Pocola, was completely washed away by flood waters, Kent said.

``We have several problems,'' Kent said. ``We've got vehicles where water has come up over the hood.''

Eight cows drowned when flood waters trapped them under a bridge near Pocola, Kent said.

No injuries were reported. Flood waters had not completely disappeared by Saturday night, but water was no longer covering roads, county officials said.

Residents in Watts were keeping an eye on the Illinois River Saturday night. The river was expected to crest after midnight Saturday about 9 feet above flood stage, according to the National Weather Service in Tulsa.

Sheriff's deputies were evacuating trailer homes and cabins near the river, but fewer than a dozen homes were affected, said Calvin Clay, Adair County emergency management director.

``It's not coming up like it was,'' Clay said. ``It's slowing down. We're still just watching it.''

Showers on Friday caused street flooding in Sallisaw and briefly closed U.S. 64 near Vian. Flood waters seeped onto Interstate 40 and filled Tulsa streets Friday morning, but no major problems were reported Saturday.