Faulkner County came through the severe rainstorms all right in most areas, County Judge Preston Scroggin said, but the Vilonia area and eastern Faulkner County had “as much water as I’ve ever seen.”
Virtually every road prone to flooding there was under water late Friday night and early Saturday morning.
Only a few roads flooded in Conway, according to city engineer Ronnie Hall, and none had to remain closed by dawn Friday. The rains “caused no damages that we are aware of at this time,” Hall said Friday afternoon. Scroggin estimated about $150,000 worth of repairs will be needed where flowing water damaged county roadways.
According Shelia Maxwell, director of the Faulkner County Office of Emergency Management, six homes in eastern Faulkner County experienced some flood damage. Two residents had to be rescued after driving into flowing water. Neither was seriously hurt.
At about 11:30 p.m. Saturday, the Faulkner County Rescue Squad and Saltillo Volunteer Fire Department rescued a man who’s vehicle had been swept off Beryl Road by the flooded Little Palarm Creek.
According to an e-mail sent by volunteer fireman Kenny Harvey to Scroggin, Harvey and Saltillo Fire Chief Bill Reed went in a small fishing boat through a wooded area engulfed by the swiftly flowing, flooded creek, and as “the water swept us by him, we grabbed some tree limbs to stop the boat.
“In knee-deep water Bill was able to pull the boat up stream, (drawing) even with the (victim),” Harvey continued. “Now the water had risen to waist deep and both of us were out of boat. I secured the boat, and myself, to a tree. Bill, with another rope, worked his way towards the victim, who was in water over his head, and becoming exhausted from the current. Bill threw him the rope and tied him off. We both pulled him in and put him in the boat. At this time, Rescue was working to get a tow rope to us. With the water now chest deep and the victim showing early signs of hypothermia, we received the rope from Rescue, and 5 minutes later we were all on dry land.” The man was said to be unhurt.
A canoeist and several young men also volunteered to attempt to rescue the man, but the swiftness of the water hindered their efforts, they said when they returned. None of these people were seriously hurt.
The worst of the rain and flooding seemed to be over by about 2:30 a.m. Friday, and the waters had mostly begun to subside. What flooding concerns remained Friday afternoon, Scroggin said, involved the Arkansas River and its interaction with local runoff streams.
The Arkansas River was rising quickly Friday afternoon and was forecasted by the National Weather Service to crest only a few feet below flood stage early Saturday afternoon, meaning that the rainwater that has accumulated may still have no place to go.
The areas to watch now that the rain has passed, Scroggin said, are the Lollie Bottoms, Cadron Creek and Palarm Creek. Grassy Lake Road, which is prone to flooding by Palarm Creek, was under “as much water as I’ve seen in a while,” Scroggin said.
Palarm Creek is fed by Lake Conway, which did not rise high enough to flood lakeside houses, according to Mayflower Chief of Police Richard Shaw. Scroggin said that given river forecasts and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spillway control, the creek water shouldn’t be able to flow back into the lake, and Lake Conway residents shouldn’t have to worry about the water that fell on Thursday and Friday flooding their homes.
The residents of Rogers Country Estates, a Pulaski County subdivision for whom Grassy Lake Road, which is in Faulkner County, is their only legal way in or out, however, may have to contend with the floodwater until the river goes down enough to allow creek water to leave, which may take until early next week given Friday’s river forecast.
Scroggin said he has set aside $100,000 in next year’s budget to put toward an elevated roadway to address the Grassy Lake Road problem, and Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway, who has been present at meetings of concerned Rogers Country Estates citizens, said another $100,000 in state money has been set aside “thanks to Sen. Mary Anne Salmon (D-North Little Rock) and Gov. Beebe.”
The elevated road project would still require more than $600,000 to complete, based on rough estimates that have been discussed in these meetings.
Those who live near the Cadron Creek floodplain, and especially the residents of James Road in the Treasure Hills subdivision just northeast of Conway, will also see lingering high water until the river comes down. In the Lollie Bottoms, Scroggin said, the floodgates are likely to remain closed until the river subsides and water that continues to drain into the bottoms will pool, flooding some agricultural land.
(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)