OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - As river levels continue to drop and dry weather prevailed in most parts of Oklahoma on Sunday, preliminary damage assessments from recent flooding began coming in.
In Miami, one of the hardest-hit areas, City Manager Mike Spurgeon said officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency told him that 647 structures in the Ottawa County town had been affected by the flooding of the Neosho River and Tar Creek.
Of those, 236 are deemed as destroyed and 266 others suffered major damage, Spurgeon said. He said that dollar estimates of damages won't be available for a few days, and that municipal infrastructure assessment had yet to begin.
President Bush issued a federal disaster declaration Saturday for Ottawa and Washington counties, freeing federal funds to supplement state and local recovery efforts.
That declaration “`gives you a ray of hope that you can start rebuilding your community,” Spurgeon said.
“We know that damage to municipal infrastructure could be in the millions (of dollars), but this tells us as a people that we are going to have the opportunity to rebuild.”
Spurgeon noted that Miami had seen tough times before, including the closure of a large B.F. Goodrich tire manufacturing plant in 1986 that dealt the town a severe economic blow.
“We're a very proud people that have dealt with adversity,” he said. “We come together as a community any time there's been a devastating situation … Miami will recover from this, because the community's biggest resource is its people.”
Other river levels in northeastern Oklahoma also were falling or leveling off, Snyder said.