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Gov. Stitt, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum evaluate dangerous flooding risk

Posted at 8:13 AM, May 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 13:56:30-04

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa's mayor G.T. Bynum and Gov. Kevin Stitt took an aerial tour Wednesday morning of storm damage in the state as they determine what the next risk could be.

At the River West Park, the Arkansas River is all the way up the trail. Now both the governor and mayor are creating a plan, as they fear this could get much worse.

To adapt to rising waters overnight, the Keystone Dam is now releasing 165,00 cubic feet of water per second into the river. We're told that will likely go up to 215,000. Although that's less than the release of 300,000 in 1986, the city is preparing for record-level flooding.

They expect those along the Caney River and Bird Creek to face life-threatening floods in the days ahead.

The mayor and governor will meet with the Army Corps of Engineers this afternoon to get updated numbers and determine where this could go up into banks and homes.

They want to get the word out so people can evacuate as needed.

But when it comes to 215,000 cubic feet of water, Bynum says that's a number he didn't want to hear.

"That's a number that we were hoping we wouldn't hear. So it's a concern and I think there will be parts of our city that will be adversely impacted by a release at this rate," Bynum said. "With all the tributaries flowing into Keystone, the thing that we all need to be aware of is there are so many variables that go into the elevation of that lake. Because of that the releases from Keystone are always subject to change."

The mayor is urging people to pay attention, saying this could be unlike anything people have ever seen in this area.

The state is bringing in additional resources.

Right now, 66 counties in Oklahoma are under a state of emergency. Those release numbers are subject to change.

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