Caney River Expected To Crest Near Bartlesville On Thursday

Wednesday, May 25th 2022, 10:05 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Flooding across Northeastern Oklahoma has some folks concerned as they remember previous floods.

The Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency (TAEMA) is projecting the Caney River to crest within the next 17 hours.

News On 6 crews saw some overflow from the Caney River saturating people's land and flowing onto roads. Many people have said the same thing, it could have been worse, and it has been before.

“The river’s gonna do what the river does," said Joseph Kralicek, Executive Director of the TAEMA.

The Caney River has reached its threshold and is expected to crest early Thursday morning or afternoon, reaching nearly 30 feet.

Officials said most structures and homes are in the clear, but fields and pastures are soaked as water rolls over rural roads.

“It’s a river bottom, it’s what makes it good farmland is that it does flood, and it does drop that sediment into the pastures and fields,” said Kralicek.

“If it rains too much you can’t get out of here because there’s a slew over here on the southside. On the other side of the Caney River Bridge, all that goes under water for about a half a mile to a mile. But this thing hasn’t been anything near like it’s been in the past,” said George Ford, resident.

Joseph Kralicek said driving into high water endangers yourself and others.

“Claremore, several years ago, had a firefighter who we unfortunately lost trying to do a swift water rescue,” said Kralicek. “Once that water gets over the road it becomes very difficult to know whether that road is even still there. So, driving through water on the road is taking your life at risk. We want to remind people to turn around, don’t drown.”

Kralicek said this doesn't compare to when the Caney River reached its flood record in 1943 at 39.8 feet, or the catastrophic flood of 2019 that rose to more than 37 feet.

“There’s a lot of people that are still, you know, trying to process through the tragedy,” said Kralicek.

“There were some boat rescues just right down the road here on both sides in 86. A car was swept off the road just on the other side of the bridge and the only thing holding it was a barb wire fence. If it had of gone, it probably would’ve killed the people and they were on top of the car when rescue got to them,” said Ford.

Kralicek said you should stay out of all flood waters.

“A lot of people underestimate what flood waters​ are like; it’s not like playing in your normal creek. You get a lot of run off. Lot of chemicals and things from the ground that normally wouldn’t be in your area creek or stream. You could see anything from chemical contamination to sewage contamination during a flood situation,” said Kralicek.

He then said don’t let your memorial day weekend turn into tragedy.

“Our focus really kind of turns to continued flooding along creeks and streams; full creeks and streams flowing very well over the upcoming holiday weekend when everybody wants to get out. You’ll see a lot of people out trying to float rivers. You’ll see a lot of people want to go out and see the lakes. Most of those are going to be very full. Most of the rivers are gonna be flowing really good and so before you go out, make sure you have proper floatation devices and you’re taking your safety in mind whenever you go out into the water,” said Kralicek.

Emergency Management expects the water to go below flood stage Friday afternoon.