Floods threaten entire Bixby neighborhood, shelters house displaced residents

BIXBY, Okla. — Residents living in the Southtown neighborhood in Bixby, Okla. have willingly evacuated their homes as flood threatened their livelihoods.

“It’s about an inch from going into our house. Whereas others have six to 12″ in their house already,” said Bixby Middle School teacher Heather Howell.

Howell said her neighborhood wasn’t flooded when she left for work this morning but said when the water came in, it came quick.

“Within an hour and a half of me getting to school this morning, I get a text saying there’s water in the neighborhood,” she said.

Bixby City leaders issued a voluntary evacuation order, and Howell’s family saved what they could and left, as water crept into her garage.

“We were able to get what meant the most to us, some clothes so that we’re able to go to work the next few days,” Howell said.

Howell said the water overflowed into her neighborhood from Snake Creek.

She’s surprised at how fast the water rose and said, “It’s kind of a mystery, because it doesn’t normally come up that quick. And it did, like I said within 30 to 45 minutes our back yard was flooding.”

With all the water that’s rushed into the neighborhood from snake creek, residents are wondering when they’ll actually be able to return home and repair some of the damage that’s been done. But for tonight, they’re heading to a few local churches that are providing shelter.”

The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army set up a shelter at Bixby’s New Beginnings Church. Jerry Conyers with Red Cross Disaster Health Services said, “We’ll come in there with cots. We’ll make sure they’ve got food. We’ll make sure their medical needs are being met.” They’ll help residents start the long road of restoration.

Back at Southtown, Howell fights back tears as she looks at her house surrounded by water. She knows all too well what comes next. “I was in the tornado here in 1981,” Howell said, “We lost our home as child, and family members. And so having to rebuild and thinking about having to rebuild again. I’m praying that it doesn’t get inside our home. I don’t want to rebuild.”