ENID, Okla. — Floodwaters in Northwest Oklahoma have closed many rural roads as well as major traffic routes, including U.S. 81 and Oklahoma 33 in Kingfisher and U.S. 81 between Pond Creek and Medford, according to emergency officials.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, area emergency managements directors and the city of Kingfisher reported the closures Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
Area counties are bracing for more flooding after up to 6 inches of rain fell in the last 24 hours as part of a powerful storm system that spawned tornadoes and torrential rainfall throughout the state.
General flood warnings were issued for Kay, Noble, Grant, Payne and Garfield counties in north-central Oklahoma through Tuesday afternoon as creeks and rivers were expected to crest above flood levels, according to the National Weather Service.
"Although most of the heavy rain has ended, significant runoff from widespread 5 to 7 inches of rain will continue to create many flooded roadways, streams and creeks through at least the early afternoon. Do not drive through flooded roadways," the weather service reported on its website.
Other warnings targeting major creeks and rivers in Northwest Oklahoma extend throughout the week as those waterways are expected to top their banks in many areas and different times, according to the NWS.
Kingfisher Creek and Uncle John Creek
In Kingfisher County, moderate flooding is occurring, as Kingfisher Creek has topped its 20-foot flood stage by 3 feet and Uncle John Creek was at 23.5 feet, 2.5 feet above its flood stage, according to NWS reports.
"They'll still be rising most of the day," said Kenny Benson, Kingfisher County Emergency Management director.
Uncle John Creek is affecting parts of northeast Kingfisher and the county, according to NWS reports, and is expected to rise to near 26.1 feet by Tuesday evening before receding below flood level by mid-morning Wednesday, according to NWS.
NWS reports Kingfisher Creek will continue to rise to near 24.2 feet by Tuesday afternoon before it begins to recede. The creek is forecast to fall below flood stage by late Tuesday evening, according to NWS.
Kingfisher County Emergency manager Kenny Benson said the county has "a pretty good handle" on flooding so far, with no significant damage to homes and no high water rescues as of Monday morning.
NWS officials reported they expect swift water from Kingfisher Creek will average 4 feet in depth over Oklahoma 33 and U.S. 81 north of Kingfisher before receding. A comparable flood in 1982 affected 150 homes and 40 businesses and public buildings, the service reported.
Flood depths up to 5 feet from Uncle John Creek could cause damage to low-lying residential areas in northeast Kingfisher and cover cropland and pasture southeast of the city as overflow from the two creeks merge. Water levels will exceed flooding in May 1993 and will be similar to levels seen during the September 1965 flood of Uncle John Creek, according to NWS.
Also in Kingfisher County, the Cimarron River, which crosses U.S. 81 south of Dover, is up to 20 feet, Benson said, and more moisture is on the way.
A chance of rain ranges from 20 percent to 40 percent throughout the week, based on NWS forecasts.
"The river is not completely full yet, but that water from up north around Alva and Drummond hasn't gotten here yet," he said. "Right now, we're just keeping an eye on it and making sure we don't have anybody stranded."
The Cimarron River had risen to 20.2 feet, above its 17-foot flood stage, by Tuesday morning and is expected to crest near 21.7 feet by Wednesday evening near Dover before falling below flood stage by early Sunday morning, according to NWS.
Homes along U.S. 81 south of Dover will be isolated, and rural lands and roads will be covered by flood depths ranging up to about 5 feet in Kingfisher County and extending into western Logan County, according to NWS.
Flooding along the Cimarron also is expected to affect rural areas in Major, Woods and Woodward counties, exceeding flood stage by 1.5 to 2 feet in those areas by Wednesday morning, according to NWS.
The river’s reach extends from near Freedom upstream to the U.S. 281 crossing south of Little Sahara State Park near Waynoka to near Orienta in Major County before entering Kingfisher County, according to NWS.
Other flood damage may occur to oil wells and sandpit facilities near Dover.
Salt Fork Arkansas River
Moderate flooding is occurring in Grant County, as the Salt Fork Arkansas River will continue to rise before cresting at 26.8 feet early Wednesday, the NWS predicts. The river’s flood stage of 17 feet already has been exceeded.
Flood depths will range up to about 10 feet from eastern Grant County and across Kay County to the confluence with the Arkansas River south of Ponca City. Private levees will be overtopped and farmland and oilfields will flood, according to NWS. Road closures could include Interstate 35 near Fountain Road, Fountain Road at U.S. 77 south of Tonkawa and Oklahoma 156 between Marland and Ponca City.
The Mesonet weather recording site in Medford reported 5.13 inches of rainfall in the county by 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.
"So far we're doing okay," said Bobby Fetters, Grant County Emergency Management director, adding the flooding is “nothing out of the ordinary” for his service area.
“There's no major damage so far that we've found, no high water rescues so far,” he said.
U.S. 81, which was closed Monday north of Medford to the Kansas line, due to flooding, is now open, according to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Oklahoma 11 east of Medford to Interstate 35 also was closed, Fetters said.
Red Hill road north of Four Corners also was closed Monday due to high water.
Eagle Chief Creek
Also, in Major County, Eagle Chief Creek is out of its banks by Cleo Springs, emergency manager Brandon Thompson said.
ENID, Okla. — County roadways and state and U.S. highways are flooding after nearly 6 inches of rain fell in parts of Garfield and Grant counties and more than 6 inches fell in Kingfisher County in the past 24 hours, according to state officials.
The creek overflow is causing significant flooding on area highways, he said. Mesonet reports that Major County by Fairview had taken on 4.23 inches of water by 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.
The county as a whole is weathering the storms well, he said.
"There's still water across some roadways, but for the most part it's pretty calm," he said.
North Canadian River
The North Canadian River is expected rise 2 to 3 feet over flood stage and affect areas near Watonga, Seiling and Woodward, according to the NWS.
The floodwaters extend from Woodward County, near Fort Supply and Woodward, to Watonga in Blaine County and near Calumet in western Canadian County. Flooding will affect crop and pasture lands and isolate rural areas and cattle, according to NWS.
Major flooding is occurring in Kay County as the Chikaskia River has topped its 29-foot flood stage, according to NWS. As of 10:30 a.m. the river was at 33.5 feet and is expected to crest at about 34.6 feet early Wednesday before falling below flood stage on Thursday.
Floodwaters are expected to cover much of the northeast portions of Blackwell, which were flooded only a few weeks ago when the Chikaskia topped its banks. Damage to homes and businesses is expected. Street flooding could reach dangerous depths and speeds, according to NWS. Oklahoma 177 and U.S. 60 north and east of Blackwell, respectively, are closed. Blackwell Avenue east of Blackwell and Hubbard Road southeast of Blackwell are impassable, according to NWS. Rural lands are covered by floodwaters ranging up to 7 feet in depth in extreme northeastern Grant and Kay counties
Storms began moving early Monday across the Enid area, resulting in torrential rainfall and an injury due to a lightning strike, according to Enid Fire Department.
A man, whom officials did not name due to privacy laws, was getting on a forklift at a business on North 16th when lightning struck, an EFD spokesman said. He said the man was in considerable pain at the scene and that the weather and "chaotic nature of the scene" hindered officials in gathering information. The department did not know if the man was struck by lightning or if the lightning struck in the vicinity of the man. EFD reported the man was taken to St. Mary's and held for observation before being released Tuesday morning.
Garfield County took on more than 5.81 inches of rain in a 24-hour period from Monday to Tuesday, according to Mesonet, but some areas in the northeast and southeast saw as much as 7 inches, Enid and Garfield County Emergency Management Director Mike Honigsberg said.
Enid police department took dozens of reports of cars stalled in water or mud were received by police Monday night, according to its Facebook Page.
Other than rural road closures and localized street flooding in Enid, Monday night's weather caused little damage to infrastructure and personal property in the area, Honigsberg said.
He did receive a report a tornado near Lucien, at the Garfield and Noble county line, destroyed a barn and damaged a home. There were no injuries, he said.
Tornadoes also formed about five miles northwest of Cashion in Kingfisher County and four miles west of Perry in Noble County, the latter causing damage to homes and trees, according to the National Weather Service.
Other tornadoes in the state caused damage in Tulsa, Peggs, Mangum and in Okmulgee County and were spotted near Sapulpa, Lake Texhoma and Owasso, according to NWS data.
Storms continued in eastern Oklahoma Tuesday and were expected to stay strong as they moved into Arkansas and Missouri.