Leader Blues

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

TOP STORY >> Flood problems reported in area after downpour

By JEFFREY SMITH and JOAN McCOY
Leader staff writers

Heavy rains Monday night flooded Cabot homes and created other flooding problems in White and Lonoke counties.

More damage may occur this week. The forecast calls for at least a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms through Saturday, leading to more possible flooding.

“About half the county is flooded,” Lonoke County Judge Charlie Troutman said Tuesday morning, mostly the northern half around Cabot.

Crews put up signs there closing the parts of Kerr Station Road, Dogwood, Hwy. 321 and Campground Road that were under water.

Troutman said he didn’t expect major problems as the water runs down quickly and leaves behind a few more potholes that would have to be filled.

But since flooding is always a problem in low-lying areas, the only way to deal with it is to make repairs where they are needed and hope that motorists steer clear of flooded roads.

“The best advice I can give anyone is to pay attention,” he said.

Tamara Jenkins, director of the White County Office of Emergency Services, said the worst flooding was in the northern part of the county around Judsonia and Searcy. In the southwest part of the county, water covered road such as Vernon Harvey, Arthur Kirk and the end of Gillham that runs into northern Lonoke County.

But Jenkins pointed out Tuesday morning that with rain in the forecast at least through the end of the week, even if the water runs down, flooded roads could easily flood again.

Residents of the Autumnwood subdivision in Cabot awoke Tuesday morning to find floodwater standing in their homes and garages.

Storm run-off from a night of heavy rain had seeped into three Hillsboro Drive homes near the intersection of Campground Road and Diederich Lane.

Bobby Thompson, the homeowner of 11 Hillsboro Drive, said this was the second time since 2003 that run-off water has came onto his yard.

“It got up to two to three feet in the backyard. I had a pool that was ruined,” Thompson said.

He said, “I think there needs to be a study on the drainage problem. There is no easy solution. It will be a long process to correct. I know the mayor knows.

“The water from Blooming Ridge and Krooked Kreek (subdivisions) has added to the flooding problem in the Autumnwood subdivision. The mayor was here this morning. I think he is generally concerned about the situation,” Thompson said.

Carrie Dunn leases the house at 10 Hillsboro Drive nearest the drainage ditch. She said she has lived in the home two years. It was the first time for her to have water enter the home. Water flooded the kitchen, hallway and part of her living room.

“It was pouring into the seams of the door. It was like a waterfall. I woke up at 5:45 and it was about three feet inside the house,” Dunn said.

She said she went to wake her neighbors to ask for help and noticed the water was going to flood their homes.

“When I stepped out into the street it was almost up to my knees,” Dunn said.

Jim Martin, the homeowner of 10 Hillsboro Drive, came with his family to survey the damage. The living room had fans and heaters drying the carpets. The city brought sandbags to stop more water from entering the home. More heavy rain is forecast.

Rick Kramer, the homeowner of 12 Hillsboro Drive, found his van parked in front of his house was flooded. Kramer said the water was two-and-a-half feet deep.

The van’s carpet and interior was soaked. Water did not enter his house.

Linda Gaudino lives on Thunderbird Drive off Diederich Lane. She said the neighborhood has a history of drainage problems.

She said the developers built houses on a filled four-acre catfish pond that had a natural spring. Gaudino said the city shows there is supposed to be a drainage ditch behind the subdivision.

“There is no ditch, water runs though the backyard and side yard. It was knee deep this morning. Water stands in the yards,” Gaudino said.