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Flooding closes roads, prompts rescues

Portions of Interstate 40 and State Highway 66 were among the roads that were closed Tuesday as floodwaters inundated the area, officials said.

Andrew Skidmore, the director of Canadian County Emergency Management department, said dozens of roads were closed throughout the county after more than six inches of rain fell between Monday and early Tuesday.

Hundreds of people were forced to evacuate, including at least 200 oil-field workers who were being housed at a camp just outside of Lake El Reno.

The lake, itself, breeched, he said.

“We don’t know how bad the damage is. We are so saturated that we can’t do any assessments,” Skidmore said.

Floodwater covers a portion of 11th Street north of Wagner Road in Yukon on Tuesday. Officials said dozens of roads across the county were closed by flooding, including portions of Interstate 40 and State Highway 66. Photo / Terry Groover

I-40 was closed in both directions for a short period near Banner Road.

Westbound lanes were re-opened around 9:30 a.m., officials said. One lane of eastbound I-40 was open.

Meanwhile, water from Purcell Creek inundated State Highway 66, forcing officials to close the highway in both directions. It was closed between Manning and Radio Roads.

Skidmore said a Red Cross shelter was set up at Jenks-Simmons Fieldhouse for those who had been forced to abandon their homes.

“There is water, food, snacks, Gatorade available,” Skidmore said.

At least 40 people were rescued because of the flooding.

Several homes were heavily damaged by the flooding, including some near Forman Road.

A portion of a railroad track near Forman was undercut by the floodwaters, as well, video from News 9’s helicopter showed, and dozens of cars were abandoned.

Skidmore said there were no immediate reports of any injuries.

Meanwhile, in Yukon, city officials said several roads were closed because of high water.

Spokesperson Jenna Roberson said there are some roads that are normally closed during heavy rains including SH-4 and parts of Wagner Road.

But there were additional roads closed during this storm, including 11th Street north of Wagner Road, where the North Canadian River left its banks.

Most of those roads remained closed by late Tuesday morning as the river continued to rise.

Authorities said it was unclear when the floodwaters would crest.

Additional rain is in the forecast for later this week.

A portion of Wagner Road at State Highway 4 is blocked early Tuesday after floodwaters covered the roadway. Photo / Terry Groover

Yukon Fire Chief Shawn Vogt said his crews participated in several water rescues early Tuesday, including removing families from at least two homes that were flooded.

There also were several people who were stranded in their vehicles.

Skidmore said he expected Gov. Kevin Stitt to issue an emergency declaration for the county by late Tuesday.

“We’re asking people to stay at home and not drive through the water. Whatever you are doing is not as important as the damage to your property,” he said.

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