Flooding Forces Dramatic Rescues in Oklahoma

Updated: 06-27-2007 09:17:08 AM


By MURRAY EVANS
Associated Press Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY --

Rescuers used boats, jet skis and rafts to pull stranded motorists and residents to safety after storms brought heavy flooding to parts of Texas and Oklahoma.

About 20 firefighters helped Cpl. Brent Koeninger use a raft to rescue 16-year-old twin sisters from bumper-deep flood waters surrounding their car on Tuesday. Koeninger helped the girls get on the raft as the other firefighters pulled them to safety, one at a time.

The sisters, Lauren and Lindsey Penn, were both in good condition, said Fire Department spokesman Tony Young.

Over 24 hours, the Oklahoma City area received about an inch of rain. The downpour was expected to continue Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Rain has fallen every day since June 13 in Oklahoma City, according to the National Weather Service, and Tuesday's rainfall pushed the city's annual total to 28.03 inches - about 10 inches above normal.

In Pottawatomie County in central Oklahoma, 46 homes sustained major damage, said Don Lynch, the county's emergency management director. Seven commercial buildings and at least one bridge also had major damage, he said. There were no reports of injuries.

Flood warnings were issued Tuesday in several parts of Texas.

Residents of about 50 homes near Lake Granbury, about 60 miles south of Dallas, had to be evacuated by boat and jet ski after Robinson Creek breached its banks.

People waited on the roofs of their houses for help as water rose to waist-level, Hood County Judge Andy Rash said. The creek was still rising late Tuesday, he said. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters searched a flooded creek in Garland, near Dallas, for a teenager who was swept downstream as they tried to rescue him.

Flooding forced street closures in several parts of the state, and several motorists in the Dallas-Fort Worth area had to be rescued from vehicles Tuesday night.

Up to 5 inches of rain were reported by the National Weather Service in tiny Morgan Mill in Erath County.

In Fort Worth, high water on Big Fossil Creek washed out a 36-inch sewer line. The city said the discharge would not pose a risk to drinking water.

Meanwhile, several Chicago streets and basements were flooded as parts of the city received 3 to 4 inches of rain in about 45 minutes, just before the evening rush hour, according to the National Weather Service.

The water department received more than 700 reports of flooded basements, officials said.

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