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Emergency crews respond to high water rescues in Okmulgee County

Okmulgee house submerged in water
Posted at 11:28 AM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 14:07:58-04

OKMULGEE COUNTY — It's been a busy morning for emergency crews in Okmulgee County. Overnight and into Thursday, they've been responding to car and home rescues, as well as street flooding emergencies.

Okmulgee County was one of those hardest hit by yesterday's severe weather getting several inches of rain in a short period of time.

Rescue crews there have been staying busy all night with rescues. But the fast-moving floodwaters covering the roads are causing quite a few issues for them.

Just in the last few hours, 2 News learns crews have responded to about:

  • 50 water rescues in Okmulgee
  • 18 water rescues in Dewar
  • 2 water rescues in Henryetta

Heavy rain fell for hours in Okmulgee county causing countless roads to flood, and even shutting down Highway 75 for a time.

One of the rescues 2 News witnessed was near Prairie Bell Road and Highway 62.

In that rescue, rescue crews say the occupants thought they could get across a small bridge, but quickly realized they couldn't and were stranded for more than two hours before crews were able to get to them.

“When we first actually got here the car was sitting on the bridge, he was dry just trapped on both sides. At some point in time, he decided that he could make it across the bridge and across and was swept off the road and stuck," says James Nichols from Okmulgee County Emergency Management. "The only thing that was actually holding him was a steel corner post and some barbed wire fence.”

Nichols says the flooding caught a lot of people by surprise. Some even woke up to water in their home.

He says they began work late Thursday night and will likely be working through the rest of the day.

At least 40 homes have been affected throughout the area. Crews even evacuated a trailer park area.

They also say many culverts, or drains, have been washed out by the floodwaters which is making travel extremely dangerous. Roads could appear safe, but a car could be washed out from underneath.

Nichols wants to stress to drivers: "Turn around, don't drown."

He says if the driver in this rescue had turned around, he would have avoided a lot of headaches for himself and others.

Only one injury has been reported so far.

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