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Be careful! That water may be deeper than you think

Lawton_High levels of water from Wednesday's rains in Lawton's streets were getting closer and closer to homes and businesses, and a lot of residents were taking precautions.  A lot of those preparing for a potential flood learned their lesson from the flooding Lawton saw last year, and they are preparing to prevent damage. 

But, some people may need some reminders.  Last year the Lawton Community Theatre (LCT) was damaged by flooding that cost them nearly $25,000 to repair.  But, since getting a call early this morning about coming rain, volunteers have been busy stacking sandbags around the theatre to try and stop a repeat of last year's performance.  "We keep sandbags loaded and ready to go, so we brought them all out, got the doorways all bagged, and around the side of the building and wait for it to happen - hopefully it won't," says Managing Director of LCT Cynthia Kent.

However, not everyone is being so careful about the high waters.  Sometimes water can be deeper than they seem.  The water was rising so high, that curbs were hidden on some streets throughout Lawton today - and, that can be very dangerous.  "A lot of times what happens underneath is that it actually erodes the bed of the road," says Floodplain Manager Chloe Lewis.  "So, there could be quite a large hole underneath there.  The water could be a lot deeper than what you realize."

Lewis says it's important that you "Turn Around - Don't Drown".  Always keep that phrase in mind when attempting to drive during heavy rainfall.  "If you see any water on a road, you really shouldn't drive through it," she says.  Lewis says that this year, all of the recent wildfires destroyed a lot of root systems, so the plants aren't able to absorb the rain very quickly.  Even though there may not be very many inches of rainfall, it could easily lead to flooding.  "We don't have a whole lot of warning a lot of times with flooding.  It's really hard to predict," she says.

Kent says the LCT has learned its lessons.  "We're getting smarter about it - (laughs) it only takes 7 or 8 floods to figure it all out."  It's a particularly bad time for the theatre to flood.  Their next production starts this Friday night.

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