Oklahoma storms: First Oklahoma tornadoes, now floodwater

Residents in Craig, Delaware and Ottawa counties dealing with disaster
BY RHETT MORGAN AND SHEILA STOGSDILL State Correspondent Published: May 25, 2011
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More than 9 inches of rain pushed creeks out of their banks Monday in Vinita, flooding roads, stranding motorists and forcing people to evacuate their homes, officials said.


“There is lots of water everywhere,” Craig County Sheriff Jimmie Sooter said.

A total of 9.67 inches of rain fell in Vinita, according to the National Weather Service. Elsewhere, parts of Ottawa County received nearly 8 inches of rain, and Jay, in Delaware County, received 4.7 inches, the Weather Service reported.

Virtually all county roads south of Vinita were closed, Sooter reported Tuesday. Vinita Fire Department Lt. Kevin Huxtable said crews performed five water rescues, transporting nine people to safety, between about 5 and 11:30 p.m. Monday.

High-water rescues

Morris Bluejacket, director of Craig County Emergency Management, said 20 homes were evacuated Monday night in Vinita and that 10 to 15 people who drove into high water had to be rescued.

Among the areas hardest hit by the flooding was the Shady Pine Mobile Home Park, Huxtable said. Officials reported no injuries there.

“One of the hardest things was to convince people that they needed to leave their house,” Sooter said. “Four hours before it happens, it looks OK. Then four hours later, they have 6 inches of water in their house. It's just a dangerous situation.”

In Ottawa County, the Miami and Commerce school districts closed Tuesday because of high water on bus routes, a school spokeswoman said.

Four water rescues were performed Monday night in Ottawa County, Emergency Management Director Frank Geasland said. Many county roads were either flooded or damaged.

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