Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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August 20, 2008

VIDEO: Norman water rescue

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Following heavy rains in the metro area Monday and Tuesday, Norman firefighters rescued three trapped motorists -- two women and a child -- from their stranded vehicle on East Franklin Road and 12th Avenue Northeast shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Daryl Williams, forecaster at the National Weather Service in Norman, said Tuesday afternoon that local rainfall amounts had totaled 4.01 inches since Monday morning.

Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey said firefighters responded to "multiple calls of cars being driven into high water and stalling, but those were the only ones we've had to rescue so far."

"They're all OK," Bailey said.

Bailey said the heavy rains are "causing all the typical areas to flood."

Some of those areas involve "all the roadways that Little River crosses under, including multiple locations on Franklin Road; Porter Avenue south of Franklin Road and sections of Lindsey Street, Flood Avenue and McGee Avenue," he said.

"People are still driving into those, even when they can't see the roadway," Bailey said. "We've put up barricades but people tend to ignore those and end up getting into big trouble. Fortunately, no one has been injured yet."

Bailey said once the "ground becomes saturated, it doesn't take a lot more rain to cause this problem."

Firefighters often respond to reports of stalled vehicles in deep water and arrive to find no one in the vehicle.

"Lots of times they'll disappear or catch a ride with someone," he said.

Because firefighters still have to ensure that no one is trapped in vehicle, Bailey said stranded motorists who leave before firefighters arrive should "call us back or hang around until firefighters arrive."

"Tell us 'That's my car and no one is in it,'" he said.

In the meantime, motorists should "be wary of wet roadways," he said.

"lt doesn't take much rain to float a car," Bailey said.



Tom Blakey 366-3540 tblakey@normantranscript.com

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