Goliath Leaves County Soaked

Friday, January 1, 2016
Flooded fields, such as this one north of Hargrave's Corner, were common following the Christmas-weekend storms.(TD photo/Tim Blair)

Heavy rains and high winds ravaged Northeast Arkansas over the weekend causing excessive flooding across Clay County, but the flooding may not be over.

Office of Emergency Management coordinator Alan Vaughn said new flood warnings from the national weather service have been issued through Jan. 2 for the western district from Corning to Brookings as water from northern states makes its way south.

"This includes Black River and Corning Lake, which encompasses Peach Orchard and Knobel as well," Vaughn said. "The Mississippi is going crazy up north, but shouldn't affect us as the river is wider here." He added the timeline of the warning could change as time goes by.

High winds caused damage to the front fascia of Rector Downtown Drug, and tangled power lines enough to prompt a visit by an Entergy crew.(TD photo/Jessica Rainwater)

"Lakes like Wappapello, Lake Norfork and Bull Shoals were made for this reason," Vaughn said. "The Corp (of Engineers) called the Wednesday before Christmas saying they would be opening Wappapello from 34 to 60 allowing more water to pass through, and they don't do that unless they are expecting something big."

According to the national weather service between five and six inches of rainfall pounded Clay County from Saturday to Monday causing a great amount of flooding throughout.

Vaughn reported a large amount of flood water in Nimmons, caused by Big Slough Ditch being out of its banks. A great amount of flooding also occurred north of Pollard. "At this point there hasn't been much wind damage reported, but I'm waiting on the calls to start," Vaughn said. "We won't really know how much damage occurred until after the flooding subsides."

The rain caused many county roads to be inaccessible keeping many people at home and causing accidents. The Clay County Sheriff's Department urges drivers to turn around instead of driving through water across roads.

According to www.kait8.com, the Greene County Sheriff's department attempted a water rescue of a submerged vehicle Tuesday on Highway 139 near Mounds. The occupants escaped the vehicle, but tow trucks were unable to remove the Lumina and the road was closed.

Vaughn said the closer to Corning the greater amount of rain and excessive flooding in Corning on Third and Fourth Streets forced at least four homes to be evacuated. Those areas are prone to flooding, he added.

"I've only seen it this bad one other time. The pump system is in our back yard, so all the city's water comes here, and the pump is full of debris, but from my understanding there is nowhere for the water to go," said Corning resident Amy Bruton who has lived on Northwest Third Street for four years. "It was knee deep Sunday and it was very close to getting into my neighbors home."

Piggott residents who live along Sugar Creek also saw flooding, but no damage has been reported at this time. Flooding in St. Francis proved the new levee built last summer was well worth the work as "it's holding well," said Vaughn.

In the aftermath of the massive storms winds raged on. Rector Drug and Medical Supply on Main Street experienced damage at 11:30 a.m. Monday when high winds ripped siding and plywood off the front of the building. The siding landed on top of high line wires and the awning of the building, but the awning remained in place and suffered slight damage. Entergy workers arrived on scene an hour after and cut away the electrical line and removed the large pieces of debris.

As the water goes down Clay County residents look to the north to see what lies ahead.

On Wednesday Gov. Asa Hutchinson added Clay to the list of 36 counties declared a disaster area, which will allow officials to seek additional help.

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