Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When The Rain Comes

Yesterday's commute was certainly different:
Storms dropped about 10 inches of rain on at least one part of Oklahoma City on Monday, flooded neighborhoods, closed some interstates, stranded motorists and left some residents clinging to trees and awaiting rescue.

The training storms also led authorities to declare a state of emergency in 59 of Oklahoma's 77 counties.

Officials reported more than 50 rescues of residents and stranded motorists in the Oklahoma City area. The state Health Department reported nearly 140 injuries, but none that required hospitalization. No deaths were reported.

It was raining when I left for work but I had no clue of what was in store. I-35 was jammed up at the I-240 exchange but it usually is. By then, though, I had an idea of what was in store, so I got off and went over to Eastern Avenue and headed north. It was mostly clear in that direction but at the I-40 exchange, traffic began to back up again. I could feel the bridge swaying over the Canadian River - that's where the last dam is and the gates were open wide and river was blasting through in torrents.

I got onto I-40 with the hopes of traveling north faster on I-35 but it was jammed up there as well for no apparent reason. I managed to get off at 10th street and work my way back West back on to Eastern and traveled north again. No trouble on that route until I reached the Springlake Vo-Tech; a creek had overrun its banks there and the crossing was treacherous. Several cars had stalled out but pickup trucks and SUVs were getting through and I did, too, but not without some heavy duty steering wheel gripping.

I continued on without trouble. At the light at I-44, the Deep Fork Creek was just about up to the bottom of the bridge; it wouldn't take much more before the road would be flooded there. I worked my way up to 63rd and then headed west. The traffic began to back up around the Cowboy Hall of Fame - cars were coming off of I-44 at Kelly and then further up 63rd another creek had spilled over and people were turning back so things were tied up for quite a while. When it was my turn, I had little trouble crossing the creek and after that it was clear the rest of the way into work.

I was the second to arrive and as the day wore on the rest of the crew managed to make it in with their own thrilling tales of travel. The rains let up, the waters receded and by the afternoon it looked like the drive home would be a much different story. More rain was predicted so it was wise to head out early.

I was too busy driving and too stupid to think to take my own pictures but these'll give you an idea of how things were:

Click through the link above for more pictures.

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