Posted by: Jim E | June 15, 2010

Arkansas Flash Flood…2010…

This is at once a horrible and wonderful story…horrible because so many people lost their lives (20 at this point)…and wonderful, because so many people have reached into this very small and remote place to help…

Albert Pike Recreation Area is in one of the most remote and rugged parts of Arkansas…in the Southwest area of the state…it is located along the Little Missouri River which runs through the Ouachita Mountains in that part of the state…the camping area is at the foot of a series of mountains that are about 1,500 feet…and the mountains have a very steep and rugged terrain, trees and underbrush…all culminating right at the camping area…there are various creeks emptying into the Little Missouri River just above the camping area…I think you get the picture…

If you add to that a pounding rain of about 9 inches in a few hours…and it was in the middle of the night…you have what happened here in Arkansas…the water rose in a short period of time…from 3 feet to 23 feet in about 5 hours…some of the stories have it that when they woke up the water was coming under the door to the cabin…and by the time they got out the door to go…the water was up to their chests…and it kept coming…most went out the back door and raced for higher ground…

With the camping area right in the “V” between the mountains and the rain filling the creeks and river to overflowing…the water kept coming…cascading over the mountains with no banks to keep in in…the water covered the mountains in sheets of running water…with no place for it to go but down the steep incline and into the narrow valley where all the cabins, campers and tents were…with the water came all the fallen limbs, trees and debris…huge trees were swept along like toothpicks…

The stories of rescue and survival have been amazing…there was one story of young men who hopped in their truck (in the rain and in the dark) and raced down the road to the area to help…but they only got so far and the road was washed out…they tried to back up…only to find the road behind them was now gone…the water was pushing the truck off the road…so the driver told the others to bale out…they  held on to trees…and the driver and the truck were washed off the road…the driver got out and was washed down the flood until he grabbed a tree…they held on until rescued an hour our so later…picture of them the next day is attached w/truck…

The stories go on and on…about the person who was trying to get out and saw a flashlight under the water as they raced to get up the mountain…nothing he could do…of the people who were driving up the road to get out and saw the cars following them being washed away…these never leave your memory…and the pictures of those who lost wives, husbands, grandparents…and especially children…the pictures tell all…

I will not try and tell the stories of some of these losses but they are so real…breaking the most somber of hearts…these were all “families”…the kinds of people who come to a place like this, love the outdoors…had come here for generations to share what they found here as children…it is something…

But what is so wonderful are the people who are also coming to help…whether on foot, horseback, kayak, boat or canoe…some of the areas that had to be searched are the narrow river turns that are full of debris 30 feet high and 150 feet long…

One of the people who has taken on a  tremendous task is the pastor of the Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Lodi, AR…Lodi is a small town in that part of Arkansas…and when I refer to a small town, in Arkansas…that is very small, not even stop light…But the pastor, Graig Cowart and his wife, as young as they are have taken on the task of shepherding the families of the victims (and others as well) through all this…

This last weekend, Sunday morning services were canceled so that there could be a focus on the families of the victims…”What we’ve conveyed to the families is that we’re committed to them for the duration of the search and rescue,” said Cowart, 43. “If, in the days ahead, this becomes a search and recovery, we want them to know we’re here for them.”…

If ever someone tells you how the middle part of America doesn’t count…they didn’t count on people like Pastor Cowart…and the hundreds of others who have turned out to help…from that small and unpopulated part of America…I see the best of what we are as a country…and this has happened all over America in the last few weeks…in the Gulf, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida…in Tennessee…in Oklahoma…and right here in Arkansas…and whether it is floods or tornadoes and wherever it is…the goodness of America shows…

So how ya doin’ America???…from where I sit…we’re doin’ just fine…

And I want everyone in America to know it…this is a great country…exceptional in every way!!!…


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Responses

  1. Hi Jim Thanks so much for the account of the tradegy in your state. We have just a little bit about it on news up here. Our news is so poor. I appreciate your comments on our country! We have been a great nation and I pray God keeps us a great nation – UNDER GOD.

  2. Told you long ago that you have a special gift, the gift to “write”…….


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