County avoids flood disasters

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Emergency manager: ‘We got lucky with northern rains’

Despite a little more than 3 inches of rain falling Thursday through Saturday, Roaring River State Park and Barry County as a whole managed to avoid any major flash flooding catastrophes.

David Compton, Barry County emergency manager, said nearly 3.5 inches fell in the county, leading to five of six road closures in low water areas, but no major rescues were needed.

“In McDowell, we had one report of a family that may have been cut off by flood waters, but no one was found and no one was in need,” he said. “We think they may have known what was coming up and got out early without a problem, which is what we encourage everyone to do.”

Compton said the county got lucky because the heavier rains were more in the northwestern part of the county, and the amount of rain did not compare to the record water levels in Flat Creek in the December 2015 flood. In that event, the Barry County Sheriff’s Office performed 15 water rescues, and more than 5.5 inches of rain fell.

“We were really lucky the rains in the south were not as substantial, because that’s what impacts Cassville the most,” he said.

At Roaring River State Park, campers were evacuated at about 11 a.m. on Friday as a preemptive measure, but the river managed to stay within its banks at just over 4 feet, when flood stage is more than 4.5 feet.

“Everything went really well,” said Paul Spurgeon, manager of the Roaring River Hatchery. “We had no major damage, and the river did not get out of its banks. Our gravel catch basins we rebuilt did not blow out, and that kept debris down. But, if we’d had about 2 more inches, we would have been in trouble.”

Spurgeon said when assessing the effects Monday, there were a few minor washed out spots, but all the baffles held.

The sighs of relief from Compton and Spurgeon may be short-lived, as 3-6 inches of rain is predicted again this week from Thursday through Saturday.

“We’re waiting to see about this week, because we’re definitely in the area to get 4-6 inches,” Compton said. “That forecast will refine itself as we get closer to those days, but we’re still expecting substantial rain. Lake levels are up, and Table Rock Lake notified us [Tuesday] they will release some water early in anticipation of the rain.

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