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Heavy Rains Pound Oklahoma For Third Day Running

June 6, 1985

ARDMORE, Okla. (AP) _ The driver of a van ignored police requests to avoid a street flooded by nearly 10 inches of rain, and four people drowned when the vehicle was submerged, authorities said Thursday.

Several families were forced from their homes in flooding late Wednesday that hit parts of southwestern Oklahoma.

The van was swept into an eight-foot drainage ditch late Wednesday, authorities said.

″I’ve been in this business 22 years, and I guess that’s bothered me more than anything because it was so useless,″ police Chief Bill Culley said.

The rain stretched into Texas, and U.S. Highway 75, a main northbound route out of the state, opened early Thursday after being swamped overnight by heavy rainfall between Red River and Denison, which recorded 7 inches of rain. Many other roads were closed by water, the National Weather Service said.

Five inches of rain fell near San Antonio, Texas, and 25 families were forced to flee their homes in Sapulpa, Okla., as Polecat Creek rose to 3 feet above flood stage. Other rivers were at or near bank full.

The drowning victims were identified as Clyde Taylor, 63, and his wife, Melveda Mattie Taylor, 59, of Springerville, Ariz., and Roger Wayne Lungstrom, 14, and his sister, Jean Elaine Lungstrom, 12, both of Madill, said police Detective Larry Hignight. He said the children apparently were the Arizona couple’s grandchildren.

The weather service said 9.97 inches of rain fell in Ardmore over 30 hours, and Culley said most of it fell in one hour Wednesday night.

″Our location is kind of on a hill with valleys throughout the city, and when we get a lot of rain in a short time we get the flooding,″ he said Thursday. ″But it’s back to normal now.″

City officials say it will be about a week before the damage is assessed.

Several businesses in Marietta were flooded, and a Love County bridge was washed out, authorities said.

″The water was over the sidewalks and was coming into our business pretty bad,″ said Susan Cochran of Cochran Hardware and Furniture in Marietta.

Several merchants said Marietta’s Main Street was completely under water when they arrived to clean up their stores early Thursday.