LEFLORE COUNTY (KFSM)- More than 160 homes in LeFlore County have been damaged by flooding, high winds and tornadoes, according to LeFlore County Emergency Management.
Initial totals show 20 homes were destroyed, 20 sustained major damage, 50 had minor damage, 45 were in some way affected and about 15 are still inaccessible due to flooding. Businesses have also been impacted with 12 reporting water and wind-related damage.
LeFlore County Emergency Management also estimates more than $1,000,000-worth of damage to roads, bridges, schools, parks and other public infrastructure. Damage Assessment Teams are continuing to add up the impact of the severe weather as additional reports come in and flooding recedes.
Several roads remain closed due to high water or damage:
- Old Highway 112 in Poteau at the Poteau River Bridge
- Old Pocola Highway at the Poteau River Bridge
- U.S. Highway 1 (The Talimena Drive)
- U.S. Highway 270 near the Lake Wister Dam
- Williams Road at the Poteau River Bridge
The county has provided more than 5,000 sandbags to residents and businesses to help protect their property.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has declared LeFlore County a disaster area and will be requesting that President Obama declare the county a federal disaster area to allow for public and individual assistance from the government. FEMA will begin assessing the county for individual assistance on May 30 and for public assistance on June 3. Individual assistance provides funds to businesses and homeowners who have sustained flood-related damage, while public assistance provides government funds to government agencies for the costs of emergency response and repairs to infrastructure.
Residents with storm-related damage and losses can pre-register with FEMA by calling (800) 621-3362. If the county is approved for federal disaster assistance additional information will be provided.
The American Red Cross has established a resource center at the Bob Lee Kidd Civic Center in Poteau where anyone with storm-related damage or needs should register. A debris disposal site has also been set up near the intersection of Polk Creek Street and the Highway 59 Bypass in Poteau. The site is only accepting vegetative and wood debris from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 30 and 31. Home and businesses owners within Poteau city limits can also place the debris at the curb and the city will pick it up.
The Poteau River in Poteau has crested at nearly 32 feet and is steadily dropping. Flood stage is 24 feet and the river is forecast to drop below flood stage June 1. In Panama the river crested at a little over 43 feet. Flood stage is 29 feet and the river is forecast to drop below flood stage June 3 or 4. Lake Wister crested at 508 feet and is currently at 506 feet. Flood stage for the lake is 502 feet.
The National Weather Service has also confirmed four separate tornadoes in LeFlore County since May 25 when an EF1 tornado touched down in Whitesboro and Fanshawe and an EF2 tornado touched down in Poteau. There was also a tornado in Talihina on May 28 with a yet undetermined rating.