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Lawmaker pushing for faster Corps communication

Posted at 9:22 PM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-08 23:33:11-04

TULSA, OK (KJRH) — Flooded neighbors are still wondering why they didn't have more time to get out of their homes this past spring, but a state lawmaker wants to make sure the Army Corps of Engineers learns from this past flood.

U.S. Representative Kevin Hern is pushing for that change. He says the alert system the Army Corps of Engineers uses doesn't allow nearly enough time to warn families to prepare to evacuate. At the end of July, Representative Hern introduced to the house bill HR-3944.

The bill would require the Corps to send emergency communications earlier: "when the National Weather Service forecasts the possibility of precipitation or runoff exceeding calculations considered the lowest risk to life and property."

Paula Patterson watched floodwaters race to the porch of her Town and Country house last spring for the second time since 1986. She says now she doesn't want to rebuild, and wishes she had more time to save belongings from her home before they were lost.

"You could see it over the horizon at 9:30 that morning," Patterson recalls about the floodwaters. "It was up to the back step by 3:30."

An official with the Corps tells 2 Works for You they work closely with the National Weather Service year-round. Representative Hern says the bill wouldn't change any of their procedures or communication, but would allow for communication with neighbors before the water starts flowing through the dams.

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