Hundreds evacuated as storms cause flooding in Oklahoma

Friday, October 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

APACHE, Oklahoma (AP) _ Thunderstorms have dumped more rain on already soggy southern Oklahoma, bringing floods that lifted mobile homes off their foundations, washed cars off highways and trapped people in houses.

A man and his stepson were rescued after spending the night stuck in a tree in Apache, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) southwest of Oklahoma City.

``This wasn't just standing flood water,'' Apache Mayor Jack Roberts said. ``It was moving fast, like white-water rapids.''

Seventy homes were destroyed in Apache and nearby Anadarko, and dozens more were damaged, officials said. About 200 residents were evacuated.

As many as 60 roads and bridges were damaged in the Anadarko area after 16 inches (40 centimeters) of rain fell in six days, said Doris Huff, a Caddo County Sheriff's dispatcher.

Floodwaters rose as high as six feet (1.8 meters) in some houses before receding, she said, and electrical power was still out in some areas.

In Carter County, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast, swollen creeks flooded highways with up to three feet (0.9 meters) of water and carried away cars.

``People just don't listen. You tell them not to drive through the damn water, and what do they do? They drive through the damn water,'' said Ed Reed, the county's emergency manager.

In Wenden, Arizona, 300 people were evacuated as a storm sent more water flowing through a normally dry river bed that was the source of flooding earlier in the week. A flash flood warning was in effect for the area.

Sunday's flood caused an estimated dlrs 7.8 million in damages in the town of 1,200 people. One person was reported missing, and 200 buildings were damaged or destroyed.