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Jackson County declares emergency, heavy rain ruined roads

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

JACKSON COUNTY, OK (KSWO) -Jackson County officials have made a declaration of emergency following last month's storms that flooded the county.

Eleven and a half inches fell during the April 17 storm that severely affected the eastern half of Jackson County. The towns of Headrick, Humphreys and Hess saw the most significant road damage.

One resident said he's had to change routes for a while because he drives the roads every day, so he hopes the county repairs them quickly and efficiently. But after driving home and getting stuck on the muddy roads, he's just thankful he made it home alive.

"We was trusting God to get out...and we got out," said Ronny Clark.

Clark says he was at a friend's house when the rain he had prayed for started pouring down, but it was much more than he hoped for. 

"The cloud just bust and it started raining and raining and raining and just before 10:30, it stopped and Wayne said, ‘You got your six inches or more,’” Clark said.

After driving a couple miles, Clark got stuck in the muddy, flooded road, so he was forced to abandon his truck and walk home through deep water.

"I've been working on it ever since then, working on the bearings and everything that was damaged," Clark explained.

Even though his engine flooded, the truck is still the least of his worries.

"That road has always, since we lived here, been bad because there's a low spot in that road and it needs to be built up and the bar ditches need cut down. It just really needs someone to shoot it and put cupboards in and repair the road," Clark said.

"We're probably going to say somewhere around $250,000 and that's just for gravel and dirt and putting these roads back," Wayne Cain, Jackson County Emergency Manager, explained.

Cain says by declaring the state of emergency, they will qualify for some state aid, but he said that's likely to be around $100,000, so the county will dip into their budget for the rest of the repair cost.

"The roads are rough, but we've only got so much funding, so we have to prioritize and try to do what we can as we are able to do that," Cain said.

As for Clark and the rest of the community who depend on those roads to make their everyday commute, he hopes it's a priority,

"I think they should put it on the top of their list as far as roads that need repairing in the county," Clark said.

In addition to fixing the roads, the flooding also wiped out some water lines, which left some residents without water for a few days. Cain said fixing those lines was the first thing they did after the storm. 

Jackson County declared emergency on Monday at the district meeting, but it has yet to be approved by the Oklahoma Emergency Management.

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