KINGFISHER, Okla. — Floodwaters in Northwest Oklahoma closed highways and many rural roads Tuesday, including U.S. 81 and Oklahoma 33 in Kingfisher and U.S. 81 between Pond Creek and Medford, according to emergency officials.
Water flowed over U.S. 81 and Oklahoma 33 in Kingfisher on Tuesday morning as Uncle John Creek and Kingfisher Creek continued to rise. The highways remained closed at 6 p.m., said Steve Loftis, Kingfisher County Emergency Management director.
He said there is no way officials can tell yet how many homes or businesses have been affected "because we cant get to the flooded areas, and won't be able to until the water recedes to do our damage assessment."
Uncle John Creek and Kingfisher Creek both were under flood warnings, according to National Weather Service, and water levels were expected to keep rising through much of Tuesday. Kingfisher Creek was predicted to crest at close to 25 feet by Tuesday evening, NWS reported, and Uncle John was expected to crest at 26.1 feet by Tuesday evening. Flood stage on Kingfisher Creek is 20 feet, and 21 feet on Uncle John Creek.
At 25 feet, according to NWS, swift water from Kingfisher Creek would average about 5 feet deep over U.S. 81 and Oklahoma 33. 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, according to NWS. Water levels will exceed flooding in May 1993 and will be similar to levels seen during a September 1965 flood of Uncle John Creek, according to NWS.
"They'll still be rising most of the day," said Kenny Benson, Kingfisher County Emergency Management local director in Dover.
American Red Cross and First Baptist Church, on South 13th just north of Kingfisher High School, partnered to open up a shelter to anyone forced from their homes.
North of Kingfisher, the Cimarron River, which crosses U.S. 81 south of Dover, is up to 20.9 feet.
"The river is not completely full yet, but that water from up north around Alva and Drummond hasn't gotten here yet," Benson said. "Right now, we're just keeping an eye on it and making sure we don't have anybody stranded."
Flood stage for the Cimarron River at Dover is 17 feet. It is expected to crest at 21.8 feet Thursday morning, according to NWS, and fall below flood stage late Saturday.
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.
Other counties in Northwest Oklahoma also experienced problems from the weather.
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 Regional Medical Center and held for observation before being released Tuesday morning.
Garfield County received 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 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 that 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 5 miles northwest of Cashion in Kingfisher County and 4 miles west of Perry in Noble County, the latter causing damage to homes and trees, according to NWS.
State officials closed two highways in Garfield County on Tuesday: Oklahoma 15 between Billings and Oklahoma 74, and Oklahoma 74 between Lamont and U.S. 412.
County roadways and state and U.S. highways were flooding Tuesday, May 21, 2019, after nearly 6 inches of rain fell in parts of Garfield and Grant counties and more than 4 inches fell in Kingfisher County Monday and early Tuesday, according to state officials.
Grant County also saw creeks overflow, Brandon Fetters, Grant County Emergency Management director, said, "but nothing out of the ordinary."
The Mesonet site in Medford reported 4.83 inches of rainfall in the county by 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
"So far we're doing OK," he said. "There's no major damage so far that we've found, no high-water rescues so far."
However, U.S. 81 was closed Medford and Pond Creek, according to Oklahoma Department of Transportation, as was U.S. 60 between Pond Creek and Interstate 35 in Kay County.
In Major County, Eagle Chief Creek is out of its banks by Cleo Springs, emergency manager Brandon Thompson said.
The creek overflow is causing flooding on area highways, he said. Mesonet reports Fairview had received 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.
High water forced ODOT to close Oklahoma 8/Oklahoma 11 in Alfalfa County between U.S. 64 north of Cherokee and the Oklahoma 58 junction.
The North Canadian River is expected rise 2 to 3 feet above flood stage and affect areas near Watonga, Seiling and Woodward, according to 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 hit 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 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.