Staff and Wire Reports
OKLAHOMA CITY -- At least two dozen motorists had to be rescued from their vehicles Thursday when heavy rain fueled by persistent tropical moisture pounded parts of Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma City, rain falling at an estimated rate of about 4 inches an hour swamped southern sides of the city, stranding motorists in rush-hour traffic and pushing Lightning Creek over its banks.
Oklahoma City Deputy Chief Cecil Clay said there were several water main breaks that caused raw sewage to flow into Lightning Creek. He urged parents to keep children out of the flood waters.
Firefighters responded to at least 30 calls for help from motorists whose vehicles stalled or got stuck, but Fire Battalion Chief Brian Stanaland said there were no immediate reports of injuries.
Interstate 240 was closed and southbound traffic on I-44 near I-240 came to a stop as water gushed over the highway, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported. The interstate was reopened about two hours later.
Earlier Thursday, Tulsa motorists had to maneuver around high water when heavy rain hit that city.
An Oklahoma Mesonet site recorded 2.58 inches of rain in south Oklahoma City, but the National Weather Service estimated that 4 inches an hour may have fallen during that time.
The weather service issued numerous flash-flood warnings for parts of the state, and a flash flood watch remained in effect through early Friday.
Forecaster Daryl Williams said a large amount of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and several weak storm systems have kicked off continual rounds of thunderstorms in the past several days.
"It hasn't been particularly violent weather, but because the steering winds have been so light, the rains have been training over one area before moving out," Williams said.
Williams said more rain was possible on Friday, but the state could get a break over the weekend before storm chances increase again by Monday.
Displaced families needing assistance can go to S.E. 89th and Shields Blvd. to the Crossroads Church or they can call the American Red Cross at 405-228-9500.
Flooding will be the primary risks for the next couple of days. Tropical air is in place and a cold front is making its way south across the state, putting most of the state at risk for rain.
Because of the slow movement of the storms, many places could have heavy rain and flooding.
With the soil saturated, the risk for flooding continues through the work week. With flooding possible, it is important to remember not to drive into water and keep children away from running water as well.
The weekend looks much better with only a slight chance for storms on Saturday and Sunday.
Stay with NEWS 9 and News9.com, we'll keep you advised.
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