Flash flooding forces evacuations

Thursday, May 7, 2009
Flat Creek floods Greenway Trail Democrat Photo Heavy rains caused Flat Creek to rise several feet last Friday morning. Water flooded the Greenway Trail and nearly covered the bridge on Highway 112 in Cassville.

By Lindsay Reed

On May 1, heavy rain caused local waterways to rise dramatically and forced some area residents to vacate their homes and find alternate routes to work and school.

"Flooding primarily occurred in the Cassville area," said David Compton, Barry County Emergency Management director. "It is typical for Flat Creek to flood Cassville when we receive large amounts of rain.

"A very narrow band of heavy rain dropped three to four inches on Cassville during a couple hour time period," said Compton. "It didn't affect the Eagle Rock area or the Butterfield area much. It was a very narrow band of heavy rain."

According to Compton, one local couple was rescued from a vehicle after driving through high water. The Cassville Police Department also conducted a voluntary evacuation on Fair Street in Cassville.

"Those people were back in their homes after a short period of time," said Compton. "This was a pretty typical Cassville situation."

The First Baptist Church Family Life Center opened an emergency shelter to give individuals who left their homes a dry place to stay until the water receded. Only a couple of individuals utilized the facility for a short period of time, said Compton.

"During these situations we make many calls to the National Weather Service and continue to monitor the situation as long as we have rainfall," said Compton. "We also monitor the soil levels to keep track of how saturated the soil is."

High water also forced a few individuals to vacate campsites in Roaring River State Park on Friday.

"We evacuated eight campers," said Dusty Reid, park superintendent. "They either moved to campground one or headed home."

Excess water caused more damage in fishing zone one than in any of the camping areas.

"I've never seen the water up so high behind the hatchery," said Reid.

High water rushed into the park through Roaring River Hollow, which is located behind the park hatchery. Waters rose above the stream banks and flooded parking lots.

"Debris got caught up on the bridge (near the Civilian Conservation Corps Lodge) and rushed out on either side of the stream," said Tim Smith, park naturalist. "We will have a lot of repairs and clean up to do over the next two weeks to prepare for Kids Fishing Day."

Although rain continued to fall over the weekend, no other major damage or evacuations were reported in Barry County, said Compton.

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