The Riechert and Haw Creek communities in LeFlore County were hit the hardest by Saturday’s storm, according to the county’s Emergency Management Department.
Director Michael Davidson said his department requested a disaster declaration from Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to open up funding sources to help fix the damaged roads.
The Black Fork River rushed into the Jones family’s home. It swept their parked truck and trailer about 300 feet and slammed it into a tree, and Fred Jones said his son Mason’s truck was washed away in the high water.
“There was about chest deep down to this house and when I got here this truck and trailer were like this,” Jones said.
The Jones family salvaged what they could after the water rose inside their home about two feet. Their entire flooring will need to be replaced.
Jones was out of town in Tulsa and couldn’t get to his house until morning. His son Mason, 17, was home alone.
“My biggest concern was my kid,” Jones said. “He was here at the time. This other stuff can be replaced.”
Jared Henry said the Black Fork River usually rises when it rains, but has never rose the way it did Saturday morning.
“I’ve never seen it that high before right there and his son’s truck nobody has seen it,” Henry said. “It just went down the river.”
Neighbors said about a dozen homes were damaged with some were a total loss. However, they said there weren’t any reported injuries.
“In this community as far as I know everybody is OK,” Henry said.
Deanna Krueger is a Haw Creek volunteer firefighter. She said it’s heartbreaking to see her neighbors lose their belongings.
“I’m on my way to the fire department to help unload supplies for those who need water and whatever else they’ve got up there,” Krueger said.
The Jones family said they will rebuild and start over.
“We’re kind of at a standstill but still feel fortunate that no one was hurt,” Jones said.
Davidson said volunteer groups from the Red Cross and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief helped homeowners recover property and clean-up debris.
James Wellman, supervisor with the U.S. Geological Survey, surveyed the floods. Wellman and his team made sure the river gauges worked properly after the storms.
He said they are in charge of 180 river gauges in Oklahoma. The gauges monitor rivers by measuring flood and drought levels.
Wellman measured the depth and velocity with their acoustic Doppler profiles.
“What we are seeing in the county is a lot of localized flooding, localize drain and we’ve just had extensive amount of rain over the last several days,” Wellman said.
The information collected heads to the U.S. Corps of Engineers, Emergency Managers and the National Weather Service.