The Latest on weather: 2nd death reported in Oklahoma floods

AP News
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Posted: Jun 18, 2015 11:08 PM
The Latest on weather: 2nd death reported in Oklahoma floods

9:45 p.m. CDT

Authorities in central Oklahoma have recovered the body of an 80-year-old woman from a car partially submerged in floodwaters.

Pottawatomie County Undersheriff Travis Palmer told the Shawnee News-Star (http://bit.ly/1LmtuhK ) rescue crews in a boat removed the body Thursday evening. They were responding to a report of a vehicle on its side in a flooded area near Macomb, about 45 miles southeast of Oklahoma City.

Palmer says it appeared the woman ignored barricades and tried to drive through floodwaters that rose as the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill dropped up to 10 inches of rain on parts of the state.

The woman wasn't immediately identified. The state medical examiner will rule on the cause of death.

Earlier Thursday, authorities recovered the body of a 2-year-old boy who was swept from his father's arms by floodwaters in Ardmore a day before.

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6:15 p.m. CDT

More than 5,000 young people at a Baptist church camp in southern Oklahoma are being sent home early as the nearby Washita River is expected to reach historic levels.

Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Director Anthony Jordan announced Thursday that campers at Falls Creek near Davis are being sent home, although he said the camp was not directly at risk of flooding.

Jordan said in a statement that camp officials were concerned about their ability to provide general maintenance and trash service because of flooding in nearby areas. Jordan says camp activities are being suspended for the rest of the week.

Falls Creek spokesman James Swain says there were about 5,400 campers at Falls Creek this week.

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4:15 p.m. CDT

Authorities have recovered the body of a 2-year-old Oklahoma boy who was swept away by floodwaters while the remnants of a tropical storm were moving through the state.

Ardmore police Capt. Eric Hamblin says Jeremiah Mayer's body was found Thursday afternoon in a creek about 30 yards from where he was last seen after being swept from his father's arms late Wednesday.

Hamblin says the father was fleeing his home on foot when the floodwater overtook him and swept the boy away. He says the father had to be rescued from the water, which rose 12 to 15 feet in less than an hour.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Bill dumped about 10 inches of rain on the area overnight.

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4:10 p.m. CDT

Authorities have partly reopened a section of a major highway connecting Oklahoma City and Dallas but say it could be days before it can be completely reopened due to a rockslide and high water.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says northbound traffic on Interstate 35 is being detoured for a four-mile stretch while transportation crews and contractors look to stabilize the rock face next to the road.

A tropical depression dumped an estimated 10 inches of rain on the area and helped trigger the rockslide.

It says the northbound closure through the Arbuckle Mountains could last for several days is urging motorists to use alternate routes on U.S. Highways 81 or 69.

Meanwhile, the agency has reopened the southbound lanes of I-35. Traffic is heavily congested.

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2 p.m. CDT

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency as a tropical depression moves northward through the region, dumping heavy rain and causing flooding in some parts of the state.

Many areas of Missouri have gotten several inches of rain over the past week, and the tropical depression is expected to dump more on the state through Friday night.

Nixon has activated the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which helps state agencies coordinate more directly with local jurisdictions on emergency services.

The Missouri River crested at several spots on Thursday, including Hermann in eastern Missouri. The Mississippi River is expected to reach major flood stage in Ste. Genevieve and Cape Girardeau next week.

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1 p.m. CDT

Authorities say floodwaters are receding in a southern Oklahoma city where a young boy was swept away by a fast-moving creek.

Amber Wilson, the emergency management director for Ardmore, says the tropical depression moving northward through the state dumped more than 10 inches of rain on the city.

She says the rain turned Ardmore streets into rivers and that the flooding damaged an unknown number of homes and businesses in the community, and that crews are assessing the damage.

Searchers are still looking for the 2-year-old boy who disappeared Wednesday, but there have been no reports of injuries in the state.

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12:50 p.m CDT

A trailing band of a tropical depression centered over Oklahoma and Arkansas is lashing East Texas and northwestern Louisiana.

There were several tornado warnings issued Thursday. National Weather Service meteorologist Mario Valverde says Mansfield, Louisiana, 30 miles south of Shreveport, is among the places teams are checking damage. They will determine if it was caused by twisters or straight-line winds.

Valverde says much of the damage is downed trees, and no injuries have been reported in Louisiana.

He says Shreveport got 4 inches of rain by noon and that more is likely. He says the storm dumped 6 inches of rain on Center, Texas, 10 miles from the Louisiana border.

The Times of Shreveport (http://bit.ly/1GuJAVh ) reports that several Shreveport streets were flooded.

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12:25 p.m. CDT

A southern Oklahoma rancher says he and his family are hemmed in by flooding from creeks that feed into the swollen Washita River.

A tropical depression has dumped nearly a foot of rain on parts of Texas and southern Oklahoma as it makes its way northward. The National Weather Service has warned of potentially catastrophic flooding in the Washita River valley and predicts the river will crest higher than it ever has before.

Elvin Sweeten said Thursday that his family's entire 600-acre ranch in Carter County is underwater. He says the floodwater is creeping toward his son's home on the property and that they can escape by boat if necessary.

The two men have been cutting fences to allow cows and horses to escape to higher ground.

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11:10 a.m. CDT

Although the center of a tropical depression has moved into Oklahoma, a trailing band of the storm system continues to bring rain and flooding to portions of Texas.

Police in the East Texas city of Nacogdoches (na-kuh-DOH'-chihs) said Thursday that residents are being told to evacuate an apartment complexes along a swollen creek.

The Navidad River near the Texas coast is flowing nearly six feet above flood stage while the Trinity River in Dallas by Saturday is projected to flow nine feet above flood stage.

The National Weather Service says the tail end of the depression is extending down into Central Texas and onto the San Antonio area.

Much of the state received 3 to 6 inches of rain, but some areas southwest of Houston saw 8 to 13 inches.

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10:55 a.m. CDT

At least one Oklahoma river is expected to rise to unprecedented levels and others are experiencing major flooding following a torrent of rain from a slow-moving tropical depression.

The National Weather Service predicts the Washita River near the southern Oklahoma town of Dickson will crest Thursday at an all-time high of 47.1 feet, more than 20 feet above flood stage. The river is projected to rise about 27 feet over a 24-hour period.

The service issued a flood warning for the area saying "catastrophic flood depths" are expected to "wreak havoc" in the Washita River valley. More than 10,000 acres of farmland has been flooded and transportation to homes in the area could be cut off for days.

Wildhorse Creek near Hoover and the Little River near Tecumseh are also experiencing major flooding.

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9:30 a.m. CDT

A tropical depression moving northward out of Texas has forced the closure of several Oklahoma highways and contributed to the disappearance of a young boy who was swept away by a fast-moving creek.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. John Vincent said Thursday that among the roadways closed due to flooding and debris caused by the storm was a section of Interstate 35 near Ardmore. The highway connects Oklahoma City and Dallas to the south, and state troopers are helping clear dislodged boulders from the roadway.

A state official says no storm-related injuries have been reported, but authorities are still searching for a 2-year-old boy who was swept away by a swollen creek Wednesday.

Forecasters say 6 to 11 inches of rain have fallen on southern Oklahoma in the past 24 hours.

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6:45 a.m. CDT

A rockslide including a large boulder has forced the closure of a portion of one of Oklahoma's busiest thoroughfares after a night of heavy rains.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has indefinitely closed the northbound lanes of Interstate 35 in Murray County following a downpour in the area. Troopers say a vehicle struck the large boulder that rolled down from the Arbuckle Mountains and that at least one person suffered unspecified injuries.

Smaller rocks are continuing to fall in the area.

Murray County was one of the hardest areas hit by Tropical Depression Bill overnight. National Weather Service meteorologist Vivek Mahale in Norman says the storm dropped 6 and 11 inches of rain on portions of Murray and Carter counties.

The service has issued a flash flood watch for the eastern half of the state that is expected to last into the evening.

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6:35 a.m. CDT

Flooding has washed out parts of Starved Rock State Park in northern Illinois, with five to six feet of water covering the main parking lot.

Park superintendent Kerry Novak tells The Ottawa Times (http://bit.ly/1Lh6bsI ) that most trails at Starved Rock remain open, as is the lodge and the visitors' center. He says parts of the trails to Jacob's Ladder and the La Salle Canyon are closed.

The park is bordered by the Illinois River, which is under a flood warning. Officials in the nearby village of Utica on Tuesday ordered residents to leave low-lying areas near the river.

Novak says park visitors should "prepare to get muddy," no matter where they go in the park. He says he hopes the main parking lot will be open by the Fourth of July weekend.

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3:50 a.m. CDT

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has suspended the water search for a 2-year-old on Hickory Creek in southern Oklahoma.

Officials in Ardmore say the search for the toddler, who remained missing Wednesday night after an attempted water rescue, will resume at 7 a.m. Thursday.

Around 9 p.m., Ardmore police requested assistance from highway patrol in the water rescue. According to Ardmore Police Department Assistant Chief Kevin Norris, a relative of the child was at the creek attempting to leave with the child when the child ran away and was swept away by the high water.

Ardmore has seen more than 5 inches of rain due to remnants of Tropical Storm Bill that made landfall in Texas.

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1 a.m. CDT

Already-soaked states in the nation's midsection are bracing for additional rainfall and possible flooding as the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill head their way.

Flood advisories were posted from Arkansas and Oklahoma into Illinois. High water could last into the weekend.

Areas of Texas that were hit by a series of storms around Memorial Day weekend got some relief Wednesday when a pocket of dry air entered the storm, lowering rainfall totals. Still, the second named tropical system of the year dropped more than 11 inches of rain southwest of Houston.

As the system headed north, Oklahoma residents were filling sandbags, bracing for a heavy corridor of rain.

National Weather Service hydrologists and meteorologists warned that the remnants of Bill could cause new floods in the same rivers that spilled over their banks during recent weeks.