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

Saturday, July 3rd 2004, 11:42 am
By: News On 6

POCOLA, Okla. (AP) _ Heavy rains forced campers from their sites and washed out at least one bridge in eastern Oklahoma, 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.

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 in Spiro 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.

Rains in Webbers Falls 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.''

No injuries were reported in Webbers Falls.

Heavy rains also washed out a bridge in nearby 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 stateline.

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 were water has come up over the hood.''

No injuries were reported and flood waters were expected to subside as the skies cleared Saturday afternoon.

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

In Delaware County, officials rescued two campers who had been washed away from their campsite on private land. No injuries were reported.

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

Residents in Watts were keeping an eye on the Illinois River on Saturday. The river was expected to crest Saturday afternoon nearly 10 feet above flood stage.