OKLAHOMA CITY – Flash flooding has plagued the metro in recent weeks.
One councilman in Oklahoma City is now wondering if the city should rethink how it prepares for future floods
“It was up to about here,” said Jim Jones.
One of the recent storms left Jones with two feet of water in his home.
Like many of his neighbors, Jim had to throw out nearly all of his belongings.
“When it gets that nasty water from the creek, it’s basically done, you know,” said Jones.
Jim has lived right next to Lightning Creek for nearly two decades, but water had never reached his home until now.
He does not live in a flood zone and doesn’t have flood insurance.
“I’ve seen water in places in last month I’ve never seen water before,” said Pete White, an Oklahoma City council member.
Councilman White questioned the city’s investment of another $1.6 million, which would approve final plans for a detention pond along Lightning Creek.
White says he doubts it will stop the frequent flooding issues.
“We’ve spent a lot of money and haven’t solved the problem. We ought to look if we’re doing it right and maybe the standard we’re building to is not adequate,” said White.
Right now, the city’s drainage codes are built to cover 100 year floods.
In the last five years, Oklahoma City has had three 500 year floods and two 100 year floods.
City planners say most people don’t understand what that really means.
“I think most people think it means a flood that occurs every 500 years. Actually, it’s a one in 500 chance of it occurring with every single storm,” said Eric Wenger, the director of Oklahoma City Public Works.
“I would say they need to do something to keep the water in the creek,” said Jones.
City planners say building a drainage system to handle a 500 year flood is cost prohibitive.
However, the city does plan to re-evaluate its drainage ordinances this summer.