Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Moffett Officials, Residents Prepare for Flood

Moffett officials are preparing for the worst--a flooded Arkansas River--and are getting ready to fill some sandbags to protect homes.

Moffett Police Chief Riley Brooks said Tuesday afternoon that District 1 County Commissioner Ray Watts was sending sand to the residents to fill sandbags to protect their homes. Brooks said not all Moffett residents agreed to a voluntary evacuation on Sunday, and many remain. So they are preparing.

"We have the fire department on standby," Brooks said from the Moffett Police Station. "They are here right not." Brooks said the Oklahoma Highway Patrol was also standing by. He said the town has  built up an evacuation route, which is near the viaduct. As of about 3 p.m. Tuesday, the town was surrounded by flood water, but flood waters had not entered homes yet. 

"We are keeping an eye on the river. It's all around from the east to the west. Roberts Pull Apart (auto salvage) is gone. It is under water. We are so flooded the river is up to the on ramp. The road is completely impassable. The old highway is under water. We are keeping in touch with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," Brooks reported. He added that the flood waters have not yet entered Moffett streets, any homes, or the school. Flood waters are surrounding the school's football field and have begun to enter the football field parking lot, he said. Several teachers and school personnel have worked to raise items as high as possible in the school building in case of flood including Moffett teacher, Paula Teehee (seen above).

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the Arkansas River at Van Buren is at 33 feet, which is above flood stage of 22 feet, and rising. Brooks said that at water level 36 feet, the flood will begin to enter peoples' homes. A declaration to force evacuation must be issued by Moffett Mayor Kathy Looper, Brooks explained. She had not done that yet. 

Moffett also suffered from severe flooding in 1943, 1957, 1986, and 1990.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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