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Opening the dam at Lake Thunderbird puts Norman residents at risk

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NORMAN, Okla. -- Torrential rain put Lake Thunderbird's levels over the top.

Now, officials say they have no choice but to open the dam.

However,  residents say that flood water is coming directly toward them.

"We need an ark, Noah's Ark," said Austin Cowan, a Norman resident.

Saturday night's flooding has Cleveland County residents looking for higher ground.

"I had actually drove through one deep one and then I went over the hill and there was another guy who said I couldn't make it.  I was like, 'Oh my God, I'm going to be trapped here," Cowan said.

Sunday morning, they awoke to a newly formed river coming from Lake Thunderbird's dam.

"Three months ago, this was 20 feet lower," Cowan said.

Cowan now is worried for the safety of his young children.

"If they fell in that, they would be gone," he said.

So they're keeping an extra close eye on the kids, hoping that if something does happen to them, they'll still have a way out.

"I think that's the biggest thing, you know, Harrah-Newalla being shut down, Peebly being shut down. I mean, your next out is either going through Norman, which you will get flooded out there or 102. I mean, there's a lot of places to be stuck out here," said Jamie Gardner.

Cleveland County officials have put out warnings and recommend evacuating if you live on the river.

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