Stephens County_Tropical Storm Erin left devastation in Stephens County as more damage assessments are coming in from Southwest Oklahoma. The Little Beaver Creek flooded homes and fields, doing some amazing and pretty scary damage. "It looks like a hurricane came through and I believe that's what happened," said Stephens County resident Dawn Branch. It might not have been a hurricane when it hit, but it was the remnants of one.
Branch wasn't home at the time of the storm, but her son was. "He called me and said, 'Mom, the water is coming up through the floor. I'm going to have to go now.' And I said, okay...," Branch told 7News. Flood waters ruined her carpets and floors and that was just the beginning of the damage done by Erin. When she got home, she had a chance to see the rest.
"What I saw when I got here was devastating," Branch said. "These 900 lbs round bales that are in this field adjacent to mine, those do not belong to me - that's not my property. They came up over my fence, across the yard - they were floating across the yard like marshmallows in a cup of hot cocoa - just floating across the road. I was just amazed by what I saw."
But, there was still more. "I came out to check the horses and found that my horse was severely injured at that point," she said. "And everything else had to stop there." And, the water was so high that the vet had to climb a hill to treat her horse, Molly. Branch went to the FEMA office, but didn't get much there. "I have several hundred dollars worth of bills, just vet bills, not counting what I'm going to have to incur to replace everything that was on the floor - the carpeting, the flooring - everything was a loss," she said. "I've been fighting back tears the entire weekend because I love my property and every animal that I have out here is like my family."
Although the gulf coast of Texas was declared a disaster area, Oklahoma has yet to claim flooded counties. "The president has not declared this a "disaster" for Stephens County for this particular storm, my opportunity to receive any federal aid as a result of this is non-existent right now," said Branch. So, right now, Stephens County residents are waiting for relief.
The FEMA office in Duncan is only able to offer help for the last bout of flooding. Governor Henry has taken the first steps to get people some relief by declaring a State of Emergency in the 24 counties hit by the recent storm.