Federal emergency officials begin touring flood-ravaged towns

APACHE, Okla. - Thunderstorms dumped up to 3 inches of rain on already soggy southern Oklahoma, bringing floods that lifted mobile homes off their foundations, washed cars off highways and trapped people in homes.

And in western Arizona, 300 residents were evacuated Friday because of flooding.

A man and his stepson were rescued Thursday after spending the night stuck in a tree in Apache, about 60 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.

''This wasn't just standing flood water,'' Apache Mayor Jack Roberts said. ''It was moving fast, like white-water rapids.''

Fifty homes in Apache were destroyed, along with 20 in nearby Anadarko, and dozens more were damaged, officials said. About 200 residents were evacuated.

The damage was enough to drive some victims away permanently.

''My parents can't afford flood insurance. They live on a fixed income,'' Debra Love said. ''This is our third flood, and our last. We're leaving.''

Donna Ware, who saw her uninsured trailer destroyed, is also going.

''This is too hard to come back to, trying to salvage what I can,'' she said.

As many as 60 roads and bridges were damaged in the Anadarko area after 16 inches of rain fell in six days, said Doris Huff, a Caddo County Sheriff's dispatcher.

Floodwaters rose as high as six feet in some houses before receding, she said, and electrical power was still out in some areas.

In Carter County, about 80 miles southeast, swollen creeks flooded highways with up to three feet of water and carried away cars.

''People just don't listen. You tell them not to drive through the damn water, and what do they do? They drive through the damn water,'' said Ed Reed, the county's emergency manager.

Rescuers pulled a woman and a family from their homes.

The county seat of Ardmore received 3.2 inches of rain on Thursday and has averaged 1.2 inches a day for the past week, Reed said.

Highways in Carter, Jefferson and Stephens counties closed by the high waters were reopened by Thursday evening, officials said.

In Wenden, Ariz., 300 people were evacuated as a storm sent more water flowing through a normally dry river bed that was the source of flooding earlier in the week.

A flash flood warning was in effect for the area, emergency services spokesman Cliff Pearlberg said.

Sunday's flood caused an estimated $7.8 million in damages in the town of 1,200 people. One person was reported missing, and 200 buildings were damaged or destroyed.


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