Verdigris River Flooding Threatens Nowata County Roads

Heavy rainfall is threatening property - and drivers - in Nowata County as the Verdigris River continues to rise.

Friday, October 10th 2014, 5:47 pm

By: News On 6


Areas along the Oklahoma/Kansas border got more than four and a half inches of rain in the past 24 hours, causing the Verdigris river to rise.

County commissioners say it takes about 12 hours for the heavy rains in Kansas to make their way down the Verdigris River to Nowata County. On Friday night, the river is expected to rise three feet above its flood stage.

Vernon Ames isn't surprised by flood water surrounding his parents' home just east of Lenapah.

"They're fine; they got everything they need right now," he said.

Ames says he comes down to check on his mom and dad every time the water comes up.

"And the neighbors, they come in from both directions and check with mom and dad, making sure they have everything they need," he said.

When the Verdigris River gets up to flood stage, portions of Highway 10 near Cedar Creek have to get shutdown by ODOT. For people who live on farmland nearby, they get stuck for days.

A high reading from the Verdigris river gauge on the Highway 10 bridge has crews from the United States Geological Survey out at the site looking at the flood water. Survey crews made sure the gauge was reporting accurately, and they used a boat to measure the water flow.

County commissioners say their concern is to keep drivers away from flooded roads.

"We're always concerned when the water comes up this quick that someone may drive across the road or the highway that doesn't know the area and cause some problems and get themselves in a position that they don't want to be in, where we've got to come out and rescue them," said Commissioner Doug Sonenberg, Nowata County.

"All of our farmers and ranchers along the river they know when the river starts coming up to get their cattle out of the way and get them in a different pasture, so it's a concern for them and they know, but this happened so quick just overnight," Sonenberg said.

The City of Nowata dealt with two water main issues as a result of heavy rains and flash flooding. 

Bradley Boyles of the city's Emergency Management office said one line in the city limits broke as a result of the weather Friday. The soggy ground cracked an old pipe near East Choctaw Avenue and North Bender Street.

That pipe has been repaired.

Another pipe in the Oklahoma Union area near a bridge repair broke as a result of flash flooding. Boyles said the pipe was being repaired, but high water got to it Friday.

Nowata Schools sent out notices around 10 a.m. about the water main issue and canceled school. Oklahoma Union Schools started doing the same around noon.

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