02 July 2007

Sending prayers to friends trying to make it through...

Sometimes you just get thrown 'back into things' again. Like no matter how far you can leave from a place where you have friends, their emergency becomes your emergency. Time sorta stops still when you know someone close to you is suffering, everything else going on quickly takes a back seat. And right now some really good friends and loved ones are in a crisis.

So, as I sit here in the midst of a drought that is gathering strength in North Cackalacky, dear friends more homewardly situated in SE Kansas and NE Oklahoma are suffering through a bad flood...and a very damaging oil spill.

We always wondered what would happen should a storm of some sort (but admittedly we always wondered more about a F5 tornado more than anything) would hit the local refineries there. Now I guess we have an answer, and potentially an environmentally hellish one to boot.

The Verdigris River, which runs right around southeastern Kansas, apparently has crested at 30.4 feet, close to 12 feet above flood stage in Coffeyville...after hours of nonstop and relentless rain poured down. And this in an area well known to be flat with not a lot of new business development to begin with. Depending who you talk to, as much as 35-40% of the town may be submerged by flood waters covered with a thick layer of released crude oil. Water restrictions are in effect, individual homes will have to be checked prior to allowing a re-entry, evacuations and rescues are ongoing...in short, a full-blown state of emergency has been called. Unknown amounts of chemicals may also have been released in the overflowing waters and/or in the oil leak. This flood and oil spill are devastating news.

From The Associated Press story on My Way News:
...A pumping malfunction during the weekend allowed 42,000 gallons of crude oil to escape from the Coffeyville Resources refinery into the swollen Verdigris River in south-central Kansas, producing a floating slick that could be seen and smelled from the air.
42,000 gallons of crude oil headed into a mostly rural area and possibly straight into drinking supplies as far down as Tulsa, Oklahoma...dear Lord. The whole region is/has always been interdependent on one another for jobs, oil, education, recreation...and now, survival. As anyone who has ever witnessed a natural disaster from afar and felt powerless as photos and news helicopters fly over old eating faves and friends' farms...you understand the sorrow I'm going through right now. These are honest people. Hard-working people. 'Handshake is as good as your word' kind of people. Proud and strong people. And with respect to my flesh and blood relatives in the Ozarks, these are my people and I pray with them, and for them, in this time of sorrow.

Video on the Coffeyville (and surrounding area) (click on "Coffeyville flooding made worse by oil leak" from menu) flooding from KSHB-TV 41 from Kansas City.

The Coffeyville Journal (Coffeyville, KS) has updates.

The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise (Bartlesville, OK) is reporting in from Green Country.

And, of course, those long-standing professionals from KTUL Channel 8 in Tulsa, give some great coverage on the impact for those in NE Oklahoma and Tulsa. (Shame that Jack Bunds, Coffeyville native and former Sports Director for KTUL is no longer there to cover the story, though...)

Dear Amanda, sweet thespian sis, and Melvin, wild child turned caregiver sis, please contact me ASAP and let me know how you're doing. I'm worried...

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