Southern Oklahoma officials are dealing with the aftermath of flash flooding that left several roads under water Wednesday.
Carter County District 3 Commissioner Jerry Alvord said Roads Division Foreman Berry Lee and his crew went out in the Plainview and Long Grove areas early Thursday morning to fix nearly 30 to 40 roadside channels dug for drainage purposes.
The channels, or tinhorns, can only hold a select amount of water before they become too full and begin spilling out onto the roadways, Alvord said. When this happens, it can be hard for some people to get out of their driveways and it can occasionally cause the gravel to wash off the roads, he said.
“When we get this much water and the ground’s already saturated and it comes down this much this fast, often they’ll go over the top,” Alvord said. “It’s not really abnormal, but we like to get on it as quick as we can so that people aren’t inconvenienced.”
However, Alvord said the crews are limited in the types of road repairs they can complete due to the ground continuously being wet. Fixing the tinhorns is a way to demonstrate that officials are doing everything they can to ensure everyones safety, he said.
“The rain’s put us so far behind so we like to do it because it shows them that their tax dollars are being used how they’re supposed to be and making good, safe travel,” Alvord said.
There does not presently appear to be any major or permanent damage to the roads, Alvord said. But there is no way of knowing for sure until the water levels subside.
“You never really know how much damage you’ve got until the water recedes because you hope the road is still there, but underneath the water may have washed it away or it may not have— you just don’t know,” Alvord said.
Alvord said Love, Marshall, Murray and Johnston County commissioners have also been taking action to fix the roadways after Wednesday’s storm. Although the counties east of Interstate 35 appear to have experienced the most damage and highest volumes of water, he said.
As more chances for rain appear in this week’s forecast, Alvord said officials plan to stay in close contact with emergency management and keep track of the weather in order to respond to any severe situations as quickly as possible.
“Until this pattern shifts, safety is the first and foremost concern,” Alvord said. “We just hope people will work with us and be patient and we’ll get things fixed and put back together as quickly as we can.”