Flooding soaks homes and breaks district-wide water lines in Western Oklahoma

BECKHAM CO., Okla. - Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink: Sections of western Oklahoma are still reeling after historic flooding through the month of May, and while some people are working to dry out their soaked and flooded homes, others are left without enough water after flooding broke water lines.

“It got up through the entire house,” said Kat Merilatt. “It looked like a lake out here it was that deep.”

Merilatt’s home in Sayre was one of the worst affected, flooding three times so far in the past month. Most of her possessions, furniture, the home she had just renovated inside ruined.

“A lot of our family photos are gone,” she said.

Her neighbor, Brandi Long, said the walls on her home are already beginning to separate from the foundation, erosion apparent around the edges of her house.

“It was just bubbling into the house,” Long said, remembering the flash flood that overtook her street. “I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

Much of her possessions were destroyed as well, including the medical supplies she needs to care for her child with cerebral palsy. Now both women fear what will happen with more rain forecasted in the next week.

“If this happens again, we’re going run into the fact that it’s not going to be safe,” Long said, “the mold and the water, it’s not going to be safe to be here anymore.”

The city manager, Guy Hylton, said there’s not enough money in the city to help people with damaged homes. Right now he’s focused on getting a waterline that broke beneath Sand Creek repaired that will cost about $200,000. He’s also looking into repairing a busted levee that let water overrun Sayre Park, destroying a historic wall build in 1938 along the way. He said the wall will cost $20,000 to repair.

As for the rodeo arena, miniature golf course, and children’s playground, all are unusable until they’re fixed. Hylton doesn’t yet have a timeline for those.

“We’ll just have to do one thing at a time,” Hylton said. Donations to help rebuild the wall or other parts of Sayre Park can be sent to the City of Sayre at 102 W. Main, Sayre, OK 73662, and donations are tax deductible.

In other parts of Beckham County, as well as Kiowa County, Washita County, and some rural municipalities, some residents are still without water after Saturday night. That’s when Rural Water District 1 officials said nearly eight inches of rain fell in about two hours and flooded the North Fork of the Red River. The two water lines that run beneath it broke and have not been repaired.

“It’s like you have all this water surrounding you and then you don’t have any water at all,” said Laurie Simpson. She was one of many who woke up Sunday morning to empty faucets.

For many, water has been restored, but the water district is still recommending people boil the water for safety, as well as conserve water until the lines can be fixed

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