It rained and rained and rained.
Then, it rained some more.
This accurately describes last weekend’s weather event in which powerful, at times scary, storms, swept through southeast Oklahoma, leaving many people scrambling to secure their properties from muddy floodwaters. Many motorists found themselves having to find alternate routes to get to work or home as usually dependable thoroughfares such as U.S. Highway 270 were more navigable by boat than vehicle.
The four-day rainfall totals for the past week hit 6.7 inches in McAlester, but it’s fair to say we got a lot more. Several readers told us they had as much as 10 inches of rain in their rain gauges.
That is a remarkable amount of rainfall in such a short period of time.
There are a few important facts surrounding these weather events that we feel are worth noting.
Our public safety personnel in southeast Oklahoma really are top notch. Editor Glenn Puit was at the Quinton Manor Nursing Home shortly after a portion of the roof of the facility was blown off by powerful winds. He observed the officers and other responders there almost immediately, and also observed the Quinton Manor staff acting in an exemplary fashion in making sure everyone was taken care of.
Firefighters, municipal and city workers all did a great job in getting roads closed that were flooded throughout the county. Firefighters and other law enforcement and public safety personnel quickly responded to a possible swift water rescue of three children. The kids got out of the water in time and the rescue wasn’t needed, but those personnel were there ready to serve. For this we say thank you.
The McAlester/Pittsburg Office of Emergency Management, the Sheriff’s Office, the county, city and other communities showed great leadership during this trying time. Public safety never felt truly jeopordized and that is a reflection of leadership. The Office of Emergency Management, along with the county, showed strong leadership in an immediate declaration of emergency, thus making Pittsburg County one of a slew of counties that may become available for federal disaster aid.
The Eufaula dam and the flood control it provides s a very valuable and critically important community asset. If you haven’t driven by Lake Eufaula lately, you may want to go take a look. The water levels are seemingly up to the rim. Imagine if there was no flood control capacity when all that rain fell. The possible scenarios are frightening to consider.
If ever Oklahoma was deserving of federal aid, this is the time. President Barack Obama and his administration should make sure those federal funds flow swiftly to the state and southeast Oklahoma. We pay our taxes and this is exactly why.