Arkansans’ Flooded Christmas

floodWhile Santa made his rounds around the globe, what hovered over us here in Arkansas was a torrential downpour, adding an additional 9 inches of rainfall to an already oversaturated earth.

Major interstate highways flooded for miles, trapping unsuspecting travelers where they stopped in bumper to bumper traffic. State highways fared worse; to close an effected area meant an hour’s added detour around the flooding. Roads closed yesterday afternoon remained closed today. The water just isn’t receding.

Those hardest hit by the same storm that blanketed the east in snow were those living in low-lying areas. What was considered safe before Hurricane Katrina was subsequently reevaluated by FEMA to fall two feet below a safe flood margin.

In one particular sub-division in a sleepy community of Arkansas, 30 homes remain flooded today under at least a foot of water. Last night, well into the wee hours of the morning, rescues continued until everyone was again safely standing on solid ground. Public servants became heroes yet again.

highwayfloodThankfully – and surprisingly – no one was injured in all of this mess, that I know of. The local woman who snapped the highway flood photo with her cell phone said she saw only a Camaro and a van in the ditch. Fire departments were on hand, boating up and down to offer assistance if needed.

About mid-morning today, the weather shifted. Instead of rain came gale force winds and freezing temperatures. Still, many ventured out to assess the flood damage, reaching out to those who lost everything. Others picked their routes around affected areas to reach holiday celebrations with family and friends. Though the temperatures remained below freezing and the winds high, the sun did its magic and kept the ice at bay.

But, the story isn’t over. Those harshly hit by the Christmas Storm of 2009 will continue to deal with its aftermath for weeks and months to come. Today, Christmas Day, they chose to spend with family and friends to celebrate the holiday. Tomorrow, they will begin their struggle to rebuild their lives.


  1. I remember Katrina. I no longer live in Louisiana though. But I was there for Katrina, and I can definitely sympathize with the ordeal these people are going through. I wish everyone well.

    Excellent piece by the way.

  2. I'd love to learn about your experiences. I think it's difficult for those not directly experiencing it just what is really needed in a crisis like flooding. I have what I oh-so-fondly call a "junkyard swamp" here, and my land was flooded, but not my house. I just stayed put and all was fine. Beyond that, I have no direct experience.

    Would that be a topic you'd like to conquer, Saph?

    Thanks for the pat on the back!

  3. I've been flooded myself in the past and I know it is no picnic. It takes months to sort everything out, and even longer to replace things that cannot be salvaged. My heart goes out to these folks.

  4. And while you're sorting everything out, you have to go through day-to-day routines as if all was well. I still can't imagine it. The losses must've been devastating to you.

  5. It's good no one got hurt.

    Just this September 2009 we experienced extreme flooding and heavy rainfall in Manila that happens once in 20 years. I was out of the country then but when I went home the following month I how big the devastation was. So many homes and lives lost.

    The only thing anybody can do is to accept it and move forward.

  6. Actually, I have a post on my blog entitled "Katrina: Part 1" where I begin my story. I'm still working on part 2. We got lucky and did not get flooded. My wife's family, who were staying at our place during the storm, were not so lucky.

  7. Here, the weather patterns here may run in a 5 year cycle. I've been in Arkansas since 2004, and that was a rainy year with snow during Christmas. I didn't see snow, but I am now farther south in the state than I was.

    Flooding seems to be happening more and more, no matter what state you're in. Archon, I agree, the only thing to do is move on.

    Saphrym, I will check that post out today.