‘Historic’ flooding forces evacuations, perilous rescues in Oklahoma and Texas

‘Historic’ flooding forces evacuations, perilous rescues in Oklahoma and Texas
Flooding in Dewar, Oklahoma. (Image: Okmulgee County Sheriff, Facebook)

[Ed. – A non-warming globe doesn’t seem to be a panacea.]

“Right now is not the time to return to your homes” — an urgent warning Sunday from Ken Bell, the emergency management coordinator for the city of San Marcos, Texas, where near-torrential rain turned streets into swift-running rivers and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents.

“We have infrastructure damage throughout the entire county (of Hays)” he said. “There are power lines down, debris in the roadways, bridges undermined — this is not the time to start moving.”

Over 1,000 homes have been damaged and at least 300 destroyed, estimated Bell. But, he stressed those are just initial estimates and he expects the numbers to increase.

Rainfall broke records and river banks in northern Texas and Oklahoma overnight. Early Sunday in the town of Claremore, near Tulsa a firefighter died attempting a high-water rescue, as emergency crews scrambled to pull residents from floodwaters.

With more rain falling, the torrents have already pushed Oklahoma City handily past a rain record, and rescuers have carried out at least 48 high-water rescues. …

Wichita Falls, Texas, was warned that its river could widely overflow its banks and severely flood broad swaths of surrounding areas, as well as large parts of the city. Officials published a potential flooding map with a red zone nearly the size of the city.

“Predictions from the National Weather Service indicate that significant flooding along the Wichita River is very likely,” the town’s emergency management agency said. “The National Weather Service is calling this an ‘historic’ flood event.”

The agency called for the voluntary evacuation of 2,177 homes. …

On the National Weather Service map, chartreuse squiggles signified overflowing rivers and creeks from southern Texas to northern Missouri. Much of the state of Oklahoma was covered in the bright green.

Motorists abandoned cars in streets and parking lots, as rising waters took them over.

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