A flash flood warning was issued for Altus and surrounding area ahead of the weekend rains that left an accumulated 4” in most parts of the city. Skies were still overcast this morning with a light rain falling. Scattered thunderstorms remain in the forecast through Friday.
With an already saturated soil from heavy rains in May, any rainfall in the area at all is concern for possible flash flooding.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol received a call around 11:30 a.m. Monday morning from the Duke Fire Department requesting assistance in evacuating a woman who was trapped in her residence by rapidly rising water from Turkey Creek.
The residence is locates south of US 62, 1 mile west of Duke, in Jackson County.
Trooper George Hoyle of the Marine Enforcement Division was dispatched with his recovery boat. Upon arrival, the water levels had started to slowly recede. Troopers Hoyle and Gary Smith stood by while the Duke Fire Department continued phone contact with the trapped individual as the water receded. The woman was recovered without incident, and all OHP units cleared the scene.
The weekend rains also flooded highways, with US Hwy 62 west of Hollis closed for approximately two hours Monday morning. Highway 5 south of Gould was still closed this morning due to the bridge being under water.
Several areas between Altus and Hollis were flooded on Monday, with a few buildings within the city of Hollis seeing some minor structure damage due to high water levels. Flooding within the city of Hollis also caused some businesses to become landlocked, and some vehicles had to be towed from high water.
In Kiowa County, Hwy 54 just south of Hwy 9 is closed after flooding damaged a construction detour near an ongoing project. Oklahoma Department of Transportation set up a new detour using Hwy 19 to U.S. 183 and then to Hwy 55.
Norman authorities say a mother, her child and others were rescued from high waters following a short and intense downpour.
Norman Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey says responders on Monday afternoon rescued the occupants of three vehicles that stalled out in high water. It is unclear how many people were rescued from the vehicles but Bailey says there were no injuries.
OSDH Offers Tips for Evacuation from Flooded Areas
As storms continue to pose a threat to the state for the next several days, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reminds residents that flooding can cause fatalities and serious injuries for people who are trapped or swept away by wading in, or driving into floodwaters.
During this period of heavy rainfall, OSDH encourages Oklahomans to be prepared to evacuate flood-prone areas. An evacuation plan should consist of multiple escape routes in case roads are blocked. Evacuation plans should also take into account people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, pets and even livestock.
When evacuation is not possible before floodwaters reach a person’s immediate area, it is important to first call 911 if possible. Be prepared to provide the location and information about the current situation. For persons trapped in a building, officials remind occupants to go to the highest level of a building. However, avoid climbing into a closed attic as it could lead to being trapped by floodwater. Climbing onto a roof is only recommended when absolutely necessary.
For drivers who find themselves trapped in a vehicle, officials encourage remaining in the vehicle unless water is rising inside. Occupants are then advised to seek refuge on the roof.
OSDH also warns residents about the risks involved with returning to an area which has been severely flooded
The following safety tips are recommended:
· Shut off utilities to a flooded building. Homeowners who are not familiar with electricity or their home’s electrical system should contact a professional to help make the property safe from electrical hazards.
· Protect yourself from electric shock, mold contamination, asbestos and lead paint.
· Check for loose boards and slippery floors.
· Use flashlights. Avoid using lanterns, torches or matches to examine dark buildings. Flammable gases may be present and open flames can cause a fire or explosion.
· Generators or other gasoline-powered machinery should only be used outdoors away from doors and windows as carbon monoxide exhaust can be fatal.
For more information about preparing for floods, storms or other natural disasters, visit www.ready.gov]www.ready.gov.