Senator Lankford Speaks on Senate Floor about Recent Severe Storm Damage in Oklahoma
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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today spoke on the Senate floor to discuss the impacted communities still reeling from flash flooding, tornadoes, and strong wind damage that struck the state on Monday and Tuesday. Some of the damage came from flooding due to torrential rainfall from the series of storms after already elevated spring rainfall totals for most of the state. Local, state, and federal entities remain in contact about how to serve these communities in the wake of the devastation. Senator Lankford also took time to thank the brave first responders who have served their communities all week and will continue to answer the call as additional storms and rain develop across the state on Wednesday evening.
Mr. President, just to give the Senate and the body a quick update on what’s happening in my state right now. We’ve had some pretty dramatic flooding, over 15 tornadoes in the last 48 hours across the state. Thankfully, most of those tornadoes hit in open areas—did not hit structures.
There have been some structures that have been damaged. The flooding has been far worse than the tornadoes and the high winds. We’ve had in just one of our counties, in Osage County, just two nights ago now, severe flash flooding that from 10:00p.m. until 2:30 in the morning, over 100 different homes had to be evacuated in the middle of the night. Many of the folks with law enforcement, firefighters, first responders arriving at their home with a boat or with a truck to get them out literally in their pajamas to be able to escape. Many of those homes have four to six feet of water in them now.
It’s been an intense time for the folks that are in that area. In fact it’s interesting, the Director of Emergency Management for that area spent the entire night saving homes and saving people getting out. And when dawn broke and they knew they had at least gotten everyone out, he headed back to his own house, only to find out he could no longer get to his home anymore because of the flood waters.
We’ve had folks all over the state, whether that be in Perry, where we had two homes that were destroyed in a tornado that night that thankfully did not hit the center of town, or we had other spots around Eufaula where we had serious flooding. Stillwater, where there’s been flooding. Dale, where we had a very dangerous overnight tornado that came in literally while everyone was sleeping. There have been pockets of folks that are there that have been affected by this literally all over the state.
For the Department of Transportation folks, for the folks that are in our police and fire, for the emergency management individuals—both for the state and for the counties—for mayors and city managers, for hospitals, county workers, for city staff, the Corps of Engineers, and quite frankly, just neighbors down the street, it’s been a long week.
There have been a lot of folks serving each other to be able to take care of those needs, and they will be for a while.
I thought this body would need a quick update because sometimes people feel a long way from the center of the country when you’re in Washington, DC, but to understand what’s happening in the center of the country right now, literally the center of America, is affecting all Americans.