Oklahomans devastated by flooding

Sunday, September 14th 2008, 11:03 pm
By: News 9

By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9

BLACKWELL, Okla. -- Hundreds of Oklahomans won't be able to return home until floodwaters recede in their communities. Since Thursday, rainfall from tropical depression Lowell has flooded towns in four counties.

"I'm feeling sad because it's flooded," 7-year-old Cady Smith said.

Smith has been coming to the Blackwell Tabernacle Church since the day she was born and she's seen her share of floods, but never one like this.

Her Pastor, Robert Johnson, explained what the floodwaters did to Blackwell's Tabernacle Church. From the nursery to where the youths used to study is now a room filled with floating chairs and bibles.

"We thought we had it beat this time. We didn't think it could come in, but it just got higher, faster than we've been able to deal with," Pastor Johnson said.

They tried to build a barrier but that didn't help the situation. Water came up from under the basement, flooding all the rooms inside the church.

Heavy rain pushed the Chikaskia River over its banks. The record flood level left more than a foot of water in some areas, displacing 800 people.

"We knew it was going to be big, but we didn't know it's going to be the biggest. It's never gotten in the house before," flood victim Jared Backus said. "It's a bad deal...a lot of debris everywhere."

The only way Backus can get around is on his boat.

Blackwell City officials said they'll overcome even the deepest waters.

"See to it that we'll survive this one, just like we have all the others" Blackwell Emergency Management Director Jim Inmon said.

Smith and her sister will have to wait to get back into the church they grew up in as the clean up begins.

"We're going to have to build a new church and it's going to take forever," Smith said.