April 27, 2011 Edition

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Water rises throughout LawCo.

Walnut Ridge residents Alan Smith (left) and Blaine Smith race against flood waters in Portia on Tuesday afternoon as they help carry items from a friend's home. Several Portia residents spent the day cleaning out their homes as water from Black River flooded the town.
TD Photo ~ Shantelle Prater
Gretchen Hunt

Lawrence County residents are finding out once again just how destructive water can be, as repeated storm systems have caused flooding along all rivers in the county.

The area received rainfall ranging from four to six inches Sunday and Monday, with another three to five inches predicted for Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning.

Tuesday the Black River was already nearing record flood levels, with more rain predicted and flood waters continuing to come downstream. At noon, the river was at 30.2 feet and expected to reach 31 feet by 1 a.m.

The highest recorded level for the river was 31.9 feet in August of 1915.

Flooding is also occurring along the Spring, Strawberry and Cache rivers.

Walnut Ridge Mayor Don House said a Red Cross shelter was being established on Tuesday afternoon to provide assistance for those forced from their homes.

In addition to numerous county roads being under water, several state highways were closed including Highway 63 between Ravenden and Imboden and between Imboden and Black Rock, Highway 25 between Black Rock and Powhatan, Highway 117 at Highway 115 at Jessup and Highway 361 at the Spring River bridge.

The flooding and road closures caused school closings, as well. Imboden Area Charter School was closed Monday and Tuesday, and Sloan-Hendrix School at Imboden closed at noon Monday and remained closed Tuesday. The Lawrence County Cooperative School at Portia was also closed Tuesday.

Firefighters rescue two

The Ravenden Fire Department received two calls regarding people trapped in floodwaters Monday night. The first involved a man whose van was swept off County Road 107. Imboden firefighters and the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department assisted with the rescue.

Later, an 18-wheeler ran off the road into a ditch due to floodwaters on Highway 63 at the Sharp and Lawrence County line. Firefighters rescued the driver in a boat. RVFD's Scotty Dail said it took three wreckers to pull the truck out Tuesday morning.

Firefighters from Imboden, Portia and Black Rock also reported helping some individuals in flooded areas evacuate their homes on Monday evening and Tuesday.

Many residents were removing belongings or trying to place them on elevated surfaces in their homes to prevent water damage.

Call center established

The state's Emergency Operations Center has set up a call center for the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that has impacted the state. The line is to gather information on the damages that citizens have received.

Individuals can call 888-683-2336 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. or call the county Office of Emergency Management.

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