Massive rainfall causes flooding in Ringling

Massive rainfall causes flooding in Ringling

RINGLING, Okla._The majority of our viewing area was just outside of that band of heavy rain that led to flooding in south central Oklahoma overnight.

The town of Ringling, in far eastern Jefferson County, appeared to get the worst of it with about seven inches of rain falling there. Several rural roads in that area remain closed because of standing water, keeping around 15 residents from returning to their homes. Thursday afternoon, Mud Creek crested just west of Ringling, temporarily closing off Highway 70.

The water rushing over Highway 70 is just one example of the challenges facing those who live in Jefferson County. Even though the rain has stopped, the water is still causing problems. It only took about three hours for Highway 70 to become impassable.

Ringling resident Gary Thompson says he left with a church group Thursday morning and the water was only about six inches deep on the highway.

"We come through about 15 minutes after eight this morning and it was over the road, but it wasn't as high as it is right now. We made it through real, real easy," said Thompson.

He has lived in Ringling since 1993 and says he has never seen Mud Creek like this.

"I haven't ever seen it this bad and I think this is the first time it has ever gotten into Mr. Porterfield's house, which is right up the road over here to the west," explained Thompson.

Jefferson County Emergency Management director Jimmy Gallaher says residents are unable to get to about a dozen homes on the east side of the county.

"Pretty much all of our north/south county roads are underwater right now. In District 2, which is the Ringling district and numerous places on Highway 70 and Highway 32 south of 70, are under water," said Gallaher.

Gallaher says they were called out after a vehicle got swept up in the water last night.

"One call of a mother and son trapped down by [the] Ore [Curve] turn-off of Highway 89. Once we got there they were already coming off the vehicle and they got out pretty quick," said Gallaher.

Gallaher says the county was preparing for the storms, but they did not expect the flood waters to cause so many problems.

"We were prepared for the worst, we have done a bunch of sandbagging and stuff, but you know sandbagging ain't going to help this stuff here. I mean, it come too massive too quick," said Gallaher.

The best advice is to avoid traveling through Jefferson County for now. According to ODOT, Highway 89 south remains closed near Ringling and only one lane is open on Highway 70 east near Claypool.