Flash flooding hurts OKC businesses for third time in four years

OKLAHOMA CITY – Several business owners in downtown Oklahoma City live through a bad case of deja vu.

Heavy rains overnight resulted in several businesses being flooded.

This is not the first time those same people have fallen victim.

Store owners along NW 4th and Shartel have been flooded 3 times in 4 years.

“Anytime it rains we worry do I have to protect my stuff,” said flood victim Leighton Kirkpatrick.

Leighton runs a photo shop.

The overnight waters subsided, but the line of debris outside shows how high the flood waters rose.

“It’s frustrating,” said Kirkpatrick.

“When it rains we get disaster,” said landlord Yvonne York.

Next door fans air out another small business that help provide clothes for the homeless.

Across the street, Kevin Thurman’s flower shop is being dried out after several inches of water crept inside.

“It flooded again. This is the 3rd time in 4 years,” said Thurman.

In June 2010, heavy rain resulted in flood problems all over the metro.

Again in May 2013, several locations downtown suffered similar flooding.

This week’s storm didn’t result in nearly as much damage, but it’s still a big headache.

“I mean 16 inches or 2 inches, it’s still the same cleanup,” said Thurman.

“We feel neglected because we’re just common business people,” said York.

City leaders say early measurements show the overnight storm was a 500 year event, which city drains are simply not designed to handle.

A 500 year event is defined as getting nearly 4 and a half inches of rain in one hour.

There’s only a point 2 percent chance of that happening in any given year, but it’s now happened three times in 4 years.