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.
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.
Early Tuesday, a couple of residences in a Miami housing addition were damaged by water from Tar Creek, Geasland said.
Two families were evacuated from a tornado-hit area of southern Delaware County after the Illinois River crested Tuesday morning, said Robert Reel, Delaware County Emergency Management Director.
The families were evacuated by boat at the Fiddler's Bend area and sent to a shelter opened by the American Red Cross shelter at the Kansas High School gymnasium, he said.
“At first they were hit by a tornado (on Sunday) and now floodwaters,” Reel said.
The Illinois River crested at Watts on Tuesday morning at 25 feet, said Ed Fite, Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission
Watts is about 15 miles from Fiddler's Bend, a campground area with cabins and weekend homes. The campground area is located two miles east of Kansas, Okla., where hundreds of trees, most measuring more than 150 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter, were uprooted.
Fite said 40 families were affected by the storms.
“Some of the houses that were on the hillside — the tornado got them,” Fite said. “The other houses that are in the holler are sitting in 15 feet of flood water.”
In nearby West Siloam Springs, 17 homes were destroyed and 12 people injured when an EF2 tornado struck the area Sunday evening.