UPDATE: Cherokee County Emergency Management said the Illinois River crested Sunday night at the Tahlequah gauge.
Illinois River at Tahlequah gauge crested a little over 29 feet just after 10 pm. Awesome forecasting @NWStulsa
— Cherokee County EM (@Tahlequah_EM) May 1, 2017
The Grand River Dam Authority said flooding along the Illinois River should reach its peak overnight (Sunday, April 30 to Monday, May 1).
The record flooding is forcing evacuations, swift water rescues, and several highway closures.
Several area float operators, resort owners, and homeowners were displaced because of the Illinois River flooding
Crews closed Highway 10 in several places including the intersection at Highway 62.
Stream gauges on the river reported record flood levels from the weekend storms.
The Illinois River starts flooding around 11 feet.
People who live around the river knew what to do when the flood warnings started to get issued…
“We just got all of our stuff out yesterday and I own the Illinois River Store up here, so I took a bunch of my stuff right up there, just sticking it inside to get everything out,” said James Beck, owner of Riverville Resort.
“Some of these guys have been here for you know longer than I’ve been alive. They know par for the course, everybody gets ready— 2015, December 2015 I had three locations, I’ve never been through a flood like this, I learned a lot during that one, which helped me prepare for this one,” said Beck.
The Illinois River Fire Department performed several water rescues over the weekend.
Assistant Chief Aaron Mitchell said the department’s swift water rescue teams were prepared for the heavy rains and flash flooding.
“I think we were a lot more prepared this year versus 2015. Not nearly as many flood victims to be so far. We’ve had to go out and get a few people. I think we’ve had six so far. It was in the 20s in 2015. So far everyone has been OK,” said Mitchell.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said the American Red Cross opened sheltered for those affected and displaced by the storms.
Chewey Community Center, Chewey Road and Flint Ridge Drive, Chewey, OK
First Baptist Church, Highway 2, Kinta, OK
First Baptist Church, 201 Commerce Road, Tahlequah, OK
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