Flooding: Homes surrounded by water, highways closed

Flooding: Homes surrounded by water, highways closed
Highway 5 at Sandy Creek
Highway 5 at Sandy Creek

SOUTHWEST OKLAHOMA_More rain drenched our area over the weekend, particularly in western Oklahoma. Highways were flooded, and at least one person was stranded in her home.

U.S. Highway 62, just west of Hollis, was closed for about two hours Monday morning. The water finally receded and that road has been reopened. Highway 5, just south of Gould, is still closed Monday night and likely will be for a few days because a bridge is underwater.

Crews were also busy attempting to rescue a woman from her home in Duke. Oklahoma Highway Patrol says that the rescue was not life threatening and the woman just couldn't leave her home.

Flooded plains could be seen in many spots from west of Altus all the way to Hollis, a stretch of more than 30 miles. Hollis Emergency Management director Randy Prince has been in the city for almost 40 years, and he has seen it flood more severely.

"I've seen worse. I can remember when I was back on the fire department several years ago, we actually had to take our six-by-trucks and boats down on Washington Street," Prince said.

A few buildings in Hollis suffered minor structure damages because of the high water levels and others became landlocked. Prince said towing cars that got stuck trying to pass through high waters is about the extent of rescues the city had to do.

It takes about 12 hours for the creek to get from Hollis to just south of Gould. Highway 5 is expected to be closed for quite some time.

It's important for people to not risk driving through these areas when there is water on the road.

"We've got more rain coming, I'd like to once again tell people if it's crossing the road and you can't see the road, don't drive in it. If you remember that, most of the time you aren't going to have any problems," Prince said.

In Kiowa County, Highway 54 just south of Highway 9 is also closed after flooding damaged a construction detour near an ongoing project. Oklahoma Department of Transportation set up a new detour using Highway 19 to U.S. 183 and then to Highway 55.

It doesn't take a lot of water to sweep people or cars downstream. ODOT is monitoring the highways and will reopen them when they are deemed safe.