Residents Asking If City Did Enough to Prevent Lightning Creek's Flooding
By Jon Jordan, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Over a decade ago, Oklahoma City built a retention pond in case Lightning Creek ever took on too much water and it needed a place to go. Those who designed the project said the pond was big enough to handle a 100 year flood, but it was not designed to handle what the city has seen in the past several days.
Laquitta Idlett is frustrated because her home, which sits along Lighting Creek, flooded when the creek overflowed. The rushing water even peeled away the side of her garage.
"For people like us who work for a living and make it paycheck to paycheck, we don't have the money it takes to fix this house," Idlett said.
Unfortunately for Idlett, she assumed the retention pond meant her home was safe from future flooding, but those who designed the creek extension said you can't prepare for the flooding that has happened recently.
"You can't design for these type of events," said Laura Story, who is with Oklahoma City's engineering department and helped design Lightning Creek.
Story reviewed and signed off on the widening plans for the creek. She said her heart goes out to those who suffered flood damage but said the city did all it could.
"This is an extraordinary event and it is not something you would normally or regularly consider to design to. It far exceeds what we would consider good practice design," Story said.
Story said the city also laid concrete to not only widen the creek but channel the water, and while homeowners like Idlett appreciate the effort, they said they wish the city would have done more.
"They just did the best they could at the time, they thought they were doing the right thing at the time. It just didn't work," Idlett said.
Idlett said despite living right along the creek, her home like many others did not have flood insurance, and any damage they sustained will come out of pocket.
The city said before they widened the creek it was barely equipped to handle a 50 year flood.