In Sharp County, Judge Larry Brown announced the county was declared a disaster area on Oct. 30 following the rainfall that some accounts say reached as high as 7 inches over a less than 24-hour period.
Brown said he estimates the damages from the floods to be well over $1 million dollars. He said the county likes to go into the winter months with the roads in pretty good condition but this year's unusual amount of rainfall has caused the county to have to repair the same areas over and over, and unfortunately, the roads are not in good condition.
Brown said the flooding has destroyed approaches to many low water bridges including one off highway 354 on Big Creek. The damage is so severe that the road is closed. Another bridge in the north end of the county over Martin Creek, near the Banks Church, was also severely damaged in Friday's flooding. Brown said the county has tried to secure FEMA funding to rebuild the bridge in the past and hopes to get the funding after this flood.
He also said the bridge on Shaw Cemetery Road south of Sidney was damaged in the flooding.
Other than the obvious road and bridge damage the county has also had reports of numerous trees falling due to the ground saturation.
Brown said, although the county has been declared a disaster, a federal declaration is needed by Governor Mike Beebe to help secure federal funding for the repairs. Brown said representatives from the state Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Association would come to the county and drive the roads to help determine damage estimates for the county. He said if there is enough damage statewide, the Federal Declaration will be made by the governor making the county eligible for 75 percent of the repair expense to be covered by federal government and an additional 12.5 percent covered by FEMA.
Brown said the county is still working on two other disasters, including the flood and ice storm of last year.
He explained the size of the county and only 22 full time employees makes the task of repairing the county roads very slow.
The Spring River crested at 17.4 feet from the normal 3.4 foot level. Hardy Police Chief Ernie Rose said the fire department performed a water rescue for a man and woman who lived near Loberg Park. Rose said the man checked the river level at 2 a.m. and shortly before 7 a.m., realized it was too high to drive out. They were taken to safety by the rescue boat.
Rose and Hardy Mayor Nina Thornton said Loberg Park suffered extensive damage by their estimates in excess of $25,000. The fence around the park was destroyed as well as part of the walking track and the safety ground cover at the playground. The city also lost the fence around the ball park at Buford Beach. Thornton said the city must take pictures of the damage before the clean up effort can begin.
Early in the morning hours of Oct. 30, the parking lot at city hall was covered with water and sand bags were placed in front of the doors to both city hall and the White Oak Station next door.
A fireman with the Nine Mile Ridge Fire Department was stranded in one of the department's trucks when the water from the Spring River rose rapidly. Kal Dienst and Tony Rook, with the Cherokee Village Fire Department came in on the back side and rescued the fireman whose truck was up to the headlights in water. The truck was a total loss.
In Williford, the library was once again flooded. In the past, the library has suffered major losses due to flood waters. Volunteers were able to save many of the books that were on the lower shelves of the library, although the water was over 16 inches in the building.
Sharp County has seen its share of major disasters over the last few years, but luckily no lives were lost in the flood.