As Oklahomans were told to anticipate record breaking rainfall this past week, Logan County and Guthrie natives slipped into a familiar pattern of preparing and watching. Logan County’s history with flood waters has conditioned most folks to know what will be coming. That is why local favorite, Missy’s Donuts had a nearly four foot wall of sand built around the entire building at their original location. At the crest of the floodwaters it looked to have at least three feet surrounding the building. Thursday morning the sand was pushed away to create access and people were bustling inside.
Not everyone affected by the floodwaters fared as well. Feet of water engulfed the businesses and homes from 3rd Street to 8th Street in Guthrie. One home in the housing development of Twin Lakes Sports Club north of Crescent, fell into the Cimarron River as the violently flowing river cut away at the bank that was once a yard. Other structures in the Twin Lakes area remain in jeopardy if flood waters continue to flow.
The Cimarron River cuts through the middle of the county carrying the run- off from rains north of us as well as our own. When the river becomes engorged, it swells the usually tame creeks in the area to become torrents. It is hard to imagine the swiftness with which the floodwaters can rise until you have seen it firsthand; and they often recede just as quickly.
The Guthrie Waste Water Treatment Plant lay directly in the path of the Cottonwood Creek as it reached well past flood stage. The lower levels were completely submerged at one time and the total damage to the already outdated facility is yet to be assessed. As of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the plant was up and running at full capacity thanks to the efforts of dedicated plant personnel.
Even the new 20-million dollar viaduct was forced to close the new bridge Tuesday night, lasting until Wednesday morning when Cottonwood Creek flooded the entire area up to Eighth Street. As of press time, many roads at the Cottonwood Flats will remain closed for clean-up.
There is good news; however. According to Guthrie Public Works Director Tenny Maker, all parks as well as the splash pad will be open Memorial Day weekend. The recreation areas around the lakes, basketball, and tennis courts have also been cleaned up.
According to County Commission Chairman, Marven Goodman, the county has over 1200 miles of road that are being assessed at this time. In the SW portion of the county alone, they are aware of at least 3 bridges being taken out by the floodwaters and around a dozen tinhorns that have been washed out. A pickup drove headlong into a huge culvert that was left behind when one tinhorn on Davis rd. north of Prairie Grove was washed away with such force that it has not been found.
“Our first responsibility is to assure the safety of the public. We are making sure that trouble areas are marked as we find them. With so much to cover it is likely to take several months to identify damage and get roads where they are not dangerous. That doesn’t include making all of the repairs,” Goodman said.
“People should not blindly follow GPS instructions on rural roads, espe- cially under limited visibility,” declared Goodman.
An emergency meeting will take place on May 28 to declare a state of emergency in Logan County. The Governor has already included Logan County in the state emergency declaration, but Goodman says that the formality of making a resolution of emergency it will allow the county to work with state and local emergency agencies and with FEMA.
The commissioners released the following statement on Thursday:
“We all have been affected by the recent weather. our county roads and bridges have received tremendous damage. Mesonet readings indicate over 18 inches of rain has fallen in Guthrie in the last 90 days. This amount of rain causes damage that cannot quickly be repaired. All roads are important. We must prioritize our efforts as we begin the recovery process. School bus routes, mail routes, emergency services and areas with no access will be addressed first. In some areas it may be necessary to detour traffic to routes that may not be the shortest or closest to your location. We understand this may be inconvenient. our resources and funding are being stretched to the outer limits. Suppliers statewide are running short of materials as so many areas in the state are in need. our crews are diligently working to make as much progress as possible each day. We ask for your patience and understanding as we make every effort to recover and move ahead. With the possibility of additional severe weather over the next few days, we ask everyone to stay aware. Do not go around barricades. Do not drive into water.”
There have been multiple road issues already documented to the commissioners, but residents can call the commissioner’s office at 405-282-2124 to report issues.