Residents, you may be sure, can’t stand it, even with the storms gone and the sun shining. The North Canadian River’s best-known segment, through central Oklahoma City, used to be practically mowable in dry summers; reshaped and renamed the Oklahoma River, it now looks almost like a picture postcard of a river, except for the couple of days a year when they clean it out.
East of town, though, it’s a real river, and if you dump half a foot of rain on it in a short time, it’s going to act like a real river. There’s a flood gauge west of Harrah, on Luther Road north of 23rd Street. The water is typically about five to six feet deep. About 9 pm last night, it rose to 11 feet, the point at which the National Weather Service starts issuing bulletins. (The US Geological Survey actually maintains the gauges.) Flood stage is 14 feet. In a couple of hours, the river had risen to 18 feet, and was heading higher; it touched 21 feet briefly today, and is forecast to reach nearly 25 feet, about three feet higher than it’s been any time during the last quarter-century.
Now this area is almost entirely rural. Still, being under 11 feet of water is not good, and Harrah proper may be affected. Downstream, the city of Shawnee is about to get it in the neck: 24 feet forecast by tomorrow, six feet above flood stage. Says NWS:
Serious flooding will hit homes and require evacuation of the community east of Beard Bridge on the south side of the North Canadian River… the floodwaters will bring dangerous currents… and depths up to 6 feet… over agricultural lands and rural roads in Pottawatomie County near Shawnee.
There’s probably an inch and a half of water in my office right this minute — no way am I coming in on a Saturday just to look — but that seems pretty insignificant by comparison.