Flash Flood Emergency Issued for Oklahoma City After 7 Inches of Rain in 24 Hours

The US National Weather Service yesterday evening issued an unprecedented “flash flood emergency” for Oklahoma City after storms dumped record amounts of rain on Wednesday 06 May 2015.

A statement made by Oklahoma City government said that National Weather Service officials called Wednesday night’s flood threat “deadly and dangerous,” issuing a Flash Flood Emergency for the first time in central Oklahoma’s history. The flood threat was expected to be ongoing from Wednesday night and into Thursday as rain continues and the watershed drains.

The storms and torrential rain were accompanied by several tornadoes in the region over the last 24 hours. Around 12 people have been reported as injured in the severe weather. Numerous roads have been closed, either as a result of floods or wind and storm damage.

In a statement last night, the government of Oklahoma City said:

“The primary threat Wednesday night is rising flood waters as rain continues. Reports of flooded roadways began coming in during the early evening, particularly in south Oklahoma City.

“As of 9:45 p.m., there were no confirmed reports of serious injuries in Oklahoma City, but emergency crews continued to canvass the City and respond to emergency calls.”

Oklahoma Red Cross set up a shelters in affected areas for those who evacuated their homes. Oklahoma City Animal Welfare department was working on setting up emergency accommodation for any pets.

Flood Safety

Oklahoma City authorities stressed the dangers presented by flooding, in particular for drivers.

“Do not drive, bicycle or walk into flooded areas. Do not drive around barricades, which are erected around flooded roads for your safety and the safety of first responders”.

In a statement they said asked anyone stranded by flood waters to call 911.

Airport Evacuations

At around 8.00pm on Wednesday 06 May 2015, Oklahoma’s Will Rogers World Airport cancelled all flights. Several hundred people had to take shelter in the airport’s pedestrian tunnel during evacuations. In a statement made last night, airport officials said:

“Severe weather and nearby tornadoes caused two terminal evacuations at Will Rogers World Airport tonight. The first evacuation occurred at approximately 5:10pm.and lasted for 40 minutes. The second evacuation occurred at 6:55pm and lasted for nearly three hours.

The airport also said that flash flooding on Terminal Drive and Air Cargo Road had left several motorists stranded, and that floods had prevented people from leaving the terminal for several hours. The floodwater at the airport has since subsided. No injuries were reported

Record Rainfall

NWS Norman said that 6.90 inches (175.2 mm) of rain for the calendar day fell at OKC Will Rogers World Airport, easily beating the previous 06 May record of 2.16 inches (54.8 mm) set in 1930.

The daily total of 6.90 inches is the fourth highest amount of rain to fall in 24 hours. NWS Norman say that the highest amount to fall in 24 hours in Oklahoma City is 7.62 inches, 14 June 2010.

The storms and floods in Oklahoma follow the flash floods that hit parts of Kansas and Texas where record amounts of rain fell between 04 and 05 May 2015.