Plains Floods Strand Over One Thousand Campers in Oklahoma

Heavy rains pounded central Oklahoma on Sunday, sending swollen rivers and creeks over their banks and stranding hundreds of campers who came for the holiday weekend at a popular park.

About 1,500 campers at Turner Falls Park near Davis were stuck with their vehicles Sunday after flash flooding forced the closure of the only road leading into the campgrounds, park manager Tom Graham said. No injuries were reported.

"One minute it was OK, and 20 minutes later a wave came through and caused us to shut it down," Graham said. "We started warning people yesterday evening that if they stayed, they may get flooded in."

It was possible for campers to get out on foot bridges, Graham said. A building inside the park was opened for rain-soaked campers to dry out, and the Red Cross delivered food and supplies.

The road could remain shut until Monday afternoon.

Nearby Madill recorded 4.2 inches of rain in a 24-hour period from Saturday evening to Sunday evening, said Chris Sohl, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman. More rain was expected overnight Sunday.

In south-central Oklahoma, one home was evacuated near Newport and roads were closed throughout the county, Carter County dispatcher Tiffany Atnip said. She said authorities also evacuated several campers near the Washita River.

In Lawton, authorities rescued several stranded motorists Sunday morning as floodwaters rose in that city, according to the Comanche County Emergency Management Office.

In Hutchinson, Kan., workers at the Hutchinson Zoo were trying to clean up from flooding late last week. The zoo has been closed since Thursday after more than 7 inches of rain fell Wednesday night and flooded a pond just outside the zoo. About 25 animals were evacuated.

Zoo personnel were using boats to get to bison congregating in a dry spot in their enclosure, zoo Director Charlotte Poepperling said. Workers were able to pump water from a birds of prey exhibit and the birds perched in dry areas.

The zoo's water-loving otters remained in their soggy exhibit, but staff had to wear rubber boots to reach them. A tunnel designed to give children a closer look at the zoo's prairie dogs was filled with water.

"I'm hoping that within a couple of weeks we can be back in business," Poepperling said.

In Killeen, Texas, two men whose vehicles were swept away by rising flood waters were presumed dead, which would bring the death toll from the flooding there to seven.

Edgar Garcia, 22, disappeared three days earlier near Fredricksburg when the current swept away his sport utility vehicle. Authorities suspended their search for 50-year-old Scottie Gjedrem late Saturday, saying there was nowhere left to search. Gjedrem was moving his friend's sports car Thursday night when water from a nearby swollen creek swept it away, Killeen police said.

Much of central Texas remained under a flash flood warning through Sunday night. Parts of north Texas were under a flash flood watch until Monday afternoon.