[Nameplate] Fair ~ 45°F  
High: 74°F ~ Low: 49°F
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Major flooding

Friday, April 18, 2008

Photo by Erma Harris Washam Salvage on Main Street in Mammoth Street was one of many businesses on lower Main Street that suffered water damage during flooding which occurred April 10.
Jan Thompson

Staff Writer

The already saturated ground in the Thayer, Mammoth Spring area could not handle the four and one-half to five inches of rain that fell in a three hour period before noon April 10 and the result was major flooding.

"I've never seen this much flooding in Mammoth Spring," said Mayor Jean Pace.

Pace said she did not know of anyone who had to be evacuated in the city due to the flooding but she did know of one house on River Bend Road where the water rose up to the house, but not in the house. She said mostly people had water in basements that had never had water there before.

She said phone service was out in the city a portion of the day but it was restored fairly quickly.

"We again had some street damage and damage to driveways in the city. It is going to take a lot of time and money to fix our streets. We have been working on some ditches, making them deeper and that helped us when this recent flood came," she said.

Pace said residents in the city really helped when the flooding was over. "High water had washed gravel out into the streets and many private homeowners swept that away. I had calls through last Saturday from residents asking if there was anything they could do to help us. I appreciate all the work done by the citizens of the city," the mayor said.

Pace said several businesses on the lower end of Main Street did receive flooding.

Palace Drug was prepared for the heavy rain. They had very little water come through the door of the business. They had placed sandbags around the side door of the building and it worked to keep the high water out.

Radio Shack across the street had no water in their business at all.

Mammoth Spring Medical Equipment had water seep through the floor. They prepared by moving all their electrical equipment and some patient files that were near the floor to higher ground. The clinic was closed on Thursday and employees used shop vacs to try and get the water out. The clinic was again closed on Friday when Service Master from West Plains came and cleaned all the water from the building.

Country Side Style Shop, also on Main Street had very little water in their building and reported no damage.

Meyers Pharmacy was another business that was prepared. They had placed a board across the back door and had sandbags in place when the water started coming down. They received no water damage.

Mammoth Spring Floral Express, next door, was not so lucky. Business owner Sharon Bowers said she had placed sandbags around her back door but the water still came through the door and walls. "I just opened up the front door and let it out into the street," Bowers said. There is also water damage in the ceiling of the business. "I probably lost between $850 and $1,500 in merchandise because of water," Bowers said.

Fred's Fish House, on the other side of the street received some water in the basement of the building. "Our hearts just went out to the people across the street. I have never seen anything like it. We couldn't get across the street to help them because of the water," Fred's manager and co-owner Paula Smith said.

One business that received severe flooding was First American Realty across from Fred's Fish House. It is owned by Mary Waudly. "I was not here when the water started coming in. I was out showing a property." Waudly said when she returned there was probably six inches of water in her office.

The force of the water busted down an interior wall and almost broke down the back door.

Waudly said she was not going to remain at her present location. "I am going to relocate. I would close the doors before going through this again," she said.

Curtis Hardware, also located on Main Street, received some minor flooding but nothing major.

Jim Washam from Washam Salvage at 210 Main Street said his business suffered major flooding.

"There was water standing about two feet in our back room. We chopped a hole in the floor for the water to drain out," he said. The business owned by Washam and his father Robert, lost several thousand dollars because of having to throw away wet wallpaper.

A new business, Hog Wild Pizza, located at 201 Main Street, was slated to open April 15. Owner of the business Robert Holder said the flood set their opening date back about a week. "We probably had four to six inches of water standing in the store. Although there was no major damage it messed up some trim and moved the air conditioner unit and propane tank at the back of the building," Holder said.

Clary Funeral Home at Mammoth Spring had Service Master from West Plains drying the floors at their business. Jonathan Clary said there was about two to three inches of water standing throughout the funeral home.

"Once we get the water out of the carpet I think we will be OK," Clary said.

Mammoth Spring State Park Tourist Information Center closed its doors at 10:30 a.m. that morning. "Our parking lot was flooded with rushing water. It came up to the door," said Adam Davis, Tourist Information Center manager. Park Superintendent Dave Jackson said, "It was fast moving water."

"We kept close watch on the stream gauge at the park that day. A normal flow from the spring is 175,000 gallons a minute. The highest flow April 10, was 509,000 gallons a minute," Jackson said.

Jackson said he does not have any information if the falls over the dam at the park had ever seen as much water as it did April 10. He did say that he was told it was almost comparable to the flood of 1982.

Schools were closed at Mammoth Spring April 11 due to many low water bridges on back roads of the school district being flooded.

There were no reports of any rescues in the Thayer/Mammoth Spring area due to flooding.

The Camp Volunteer Fire Department was called when a motorist became stranded in a fast rising creek that morning.

According to Butch Bologna, assistant fire chief and public information officer with the Camp VFD, Jim Carl had attempted to cross a low water bridge on Pleasant Valley Road in a mini van but misjudged the depth of the water running across the bridge. The vehicle was quickly whisked away in the fast moving current and Bologna said Carl found himself in a very dangerous situation.

Within five minutes of the call to 9-1-1, three other vehicles were in the same situation as Carl, although at different locations in the Camp/Saddle area. As firefighters and first responders were being dispatched, Camp firefighter Richard Navarro, en-route to his assignment, became stranded in high water himself.

Camp Fire Chief John Davis made quick work of freeing Navarro from the rising water and together they continued on to assist Carl.

Davis, Navarro, and first responder, Pat O'brien came upon Carl almost fully submerged and still in his vehicle. Bologna said rescue of Carl would prove to be a difficult task due to the swift and powerful current of the water. He said once Carl was secured to a lifeline, Davis told Carl to exit his vehicle. As he did the current pulled him underwater where he became trapped.

The assistant chief said Davis acted quickly, connecting himself to the lifeline then jumped in and freed Carl and brought him to the surface where the current began taking them both downstream. O'brien grabbed the lifeline, then he too ended up in the fast moving current leaving Navarro to anchor all three.

With good communicating Bologna said each team member was able to safely get back to high ground. He said teamwork, quick thinking and proper training all contributed to each man coming out of this possibly deadly situation with nothing more than wet clothes and frayed nerves. "A man's life was at stake and we had a duty to act," Davis said later in the day.

The remaining calls April 10 were not as eventful but all had the same positive outcome.

Bologna said the Camp VFD would like to remind motorists to never drive where water covers the roadway.

Thayer and portions of Oregon County also received too much rain. Gov. Matt Blunt said April 10, 180 stretches of state highways in Missouri had been closed due to flooding, most in the southern half of the state. In Oregon County the number of road closings was so high that MoDOT officials ran out of barricades and had to use orange cones to mark roads that were closed.

Thayer Mayor Merle Williams issued a boil water order for Barton Hill, Old Alton Road and Wyndot Street due to a broken water main caused due to the flooding.

As many as 320 Howell-Oregon Electric customers were without power in Oregon County April 10.

Myles Smith with Howell-Oregon Electric said a pole was underwater near Thayer and could not be reached due to high water. He said his company began reaching as many customers as they could by phone to tell them electricity might not be restored until Friday.

"We were expecting a second wave of rain in the afternoon and did not think we were going to get to the pole. Fortunately, that rain did not come and by about 11:15 p.m. we had all the power back on in Oregon County," Smith said. He said he appreciates the patience of the customers in the county who were without electricity.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: