Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Flood Damage

Jo and I originally intended to head home from South Texas last Wednesday, but after having a look at the severe weather and heavy rain forecast for East Texas and most of Arkansas, we decided to postpone our departure until Thursday. That proved to be a wise choice. Central Arkansas was hit by a series of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Up here in the Ozarks, extremely heavy rain just about shut Searcy County down for a day. Several buildings in Marshall (the county seat) flooded. These included the high school and grocery store. Both of these structures are on relatively level ground and neither is in a particularly low area. The flooding occurred because such a large amount of rain fell so quickly onto already saturated ground it simply couldn't drain away fast enough.

Ironically, Marshall also lost its supply of drinking water when the inlet pipes to the water treatment plant were washed away. Down the road a ways, the waste water treatment plant in Leslie suffered the same fate to its outlet piping.

Out closer to home, one end of this concrete bridge over Bear Creek was undermined and collapsed. The bridge is on a county road just off the state highway.

So much debris in the flooding creek piled up against the bridge that it became a dam, forcing the flood waters to go around the bridge and washing away the approaches. On the near end where the bridge section collapsed, the water eroded away about fifty feet of creek bank.

This shot shows the upstream side of the bridge -- not that you can actually see the bridge through all the debris.

It's now a mighty long jump from bank to bridge.

While not as dramatic looking, this mud slide in the same general area had the state highway completely blocked for most of a day. Had we been trying to get home, we could not have gotten past this obstruction. I would have been very hesitant to try using back roads to detour around it.

(This mudslide has been a recurring problem ever since the landowner bulldozed the trees off a steep hillside above the highway. I wonder how many thousands of dollars Arkansas taxpayers have paid to have the highway department keep cleaning up the mess created by one man who wanted a couple of more acres of pasture for his cows?)

We faired much better up on the ridge above Bear Creek Valley. There was no damage to our house or Jo's studio. Water seeped into my basement shop, but it always does whenever we get a heavy rain on saturated ground. The road into our place has some very rough sections again, but the recently cleaned out water cutouts worked well enough to keep any really deep ruts from being cut into the roadway.



Anonymous said...

What can I say? Wow! You guys were lucky in staying away awhile. It looks like a disaster area there and will cost a pretty penny to clean up and replace everything. The man who cut down the trees should pay for the mudslides. Honestly, I think that was just plain stupid of him to do that. I don't know what occupies the minds of people who do crazy things like he did unless it is dollar signs.

Andree said...

That's bad stuff that happened. Can you imagine the force needed to undermine that bridge and take away that much soil? You would think that a concrete bridge would be there forever. I hope things get back to normal soon.

Lana Gramlich said...

Whoa! Glad you postponed your return! The tree-killer should be punished...as all tree-killers should! >:(

Texas Travelers said...

East Texas and Arkansas has taken some hits lately. The same storm came through here and took some limbs out at my house. Didn't lose power or any big trees though.

WOW. It did a number on that bridge.

Thanks for sharing this personal story.

Tom said...

These are great picture to show the force of what we call over here 'flash floods' the last bad one arounds these part was terrible for those caught up in it.

I have been trying to post a comment for the last few days but I've had problems seeing pictures and getting blogs to load.. I think theproblem was at my end.. I was getting a bit worried about posting.. but I managed to do it last night but you would not believe the bother we had.. I spent time last night and again early this morning and now I'm playing catch up. Thanks fopr your comments on my posts about Mottram..

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

Wow! Those are some dramatic pictures. The flooding looks terrible. I hope things have improved and will return to normal soon.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You were lucky to go home when you did Marvin. I am glad to hear that you are safe and sound. This spring has been such a weird one water-wise. I hope it settles down to a more normal routine.