MIAMI — Slowly, the water recedes.
The Neosho River dropped to 24.25 feet as of 6:30 a.m. Thursday, May 30, a drop of around a foot from a week ago.
There was still is a river flood warning in effect for Miami through Thursday afternoon.
The Neosho at Stepps Ford Bridge near Commerce was expected to inch back up to 24.8 feet then begin to drop again to about 21 feet by Sunday.
Action stage on the Neosho is 14 feet and flood stage is 15.0.
A number of streets are back open, but still there are a number of main arterials in, out and around Miami that remain closed.
“I am hoping Sunday maybe we can get the highway open out of town (SH10),” said Miami Chief of Police and Emergency Management Director Thomas Anderson said. “It looks like we might hit 21 or 22 (feet) around that time, so the highway to Welch should be open. That will help a lot of people going down south.
“Other than that, it’s just a waiting game. I think we’re finally on the downhill slide.”
Anderson said it could possibly be Tuesday or Wednesday before East Steve Owens Blvd. would reopen.
A few businesses and residents displaced by rising water have returned, but there are still a number who have utilized a Red Cross emergency center at First Christian Church of Miami.
Miami police are hitting “barricade runners” with hefty fines, but that number has dropped the last couple days, Anderson said.
Several of the roads surrounding the Northeastern A&M campus still had barricades and several facilities there sustained damage.
Despite the flooding, the Oklahoma American Legion Boys State on the NEO campus has been running on schedule. It wraps up Saturday.
Traffic has been taking advantage of Elm and Veterans Blvd., causing backups for cars turning onto North Main.
Ottawa County commissioners have reported widespread damage.
“FEMA is planning on, as soon as they get the resources, putting boots on the ground up here so we can start to report and assess the amount of damage that we received,” District 1 commissioner Doug Furnas said.
Miami picked up an additional .82 inches during a heavy downpour Wednesday afternoon, taking the 30-day total to 24.02 inches. Of that total, 15.27 has come over the past 14 days.
The forecast called for a break in the rain for the weekend before the chance of rain returns Monday and runs for the next seven days.
John Redmond Dam near Burlington, Kansas, which feeds the Neosho, was at 1068.08 feet as of 7:30 a.m. Thursday — right at the minor flood level.
Pensacola Dam at Langley was at 754.07 feet as of 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
The flood pool was at 90.37 feet and the outflow was 76,699 cubic feet per second.
Inflow into Grand was 84,541 cfs.
Five main and two east spillways remained open at the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers.
The Corps was waiting to see results of any additional rain before making any changes up or down on inflow changes.
“The widespread flooding in and around our district is devastating,” said State Sen. Micheal Bergstrom (R-Adair).
Bergstrom took to the air with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to survey several areas, including around Lake Hudson and Grand Lake, as well as Miami, Vinita and Jay on Friday, May 24.
“Most routes into and out of Miami, including Steve Owens Boulevard, have been underwater,” Bergstrom said. “We also noted significant damage at The Landings on Monkey Island, where the restaurant and boat slips have broken loose from the shore. In Jay, we flew over the path the tornado took there and while there is some significant damage it's fortunate the damage wasn't worse."
The flooding could impact gasoline prices in the region, according to Patrick Dehaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.
“Due to some impact of flooding that has caused the shut down of a refinery, I do expect some price impact in the days ahead,” Dehaan said in an email. “I’d qualify it as minor for now, perhaps a rise of 7-15c/gal that will be temporary.”