December 30, 2015 Edition

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City streets, county roads and highways were closed throughout the county as a result of the holiday weekend flooding. Southwest Burke in Hoxie was among the roads that became impassible.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Wet Christmas for LawCo.

Gretchen Hunt

Lawrence County ended up with a wet Christmas instead of a white one this year, as storm systems came through the county dumping six to eight inches of rain over the past week.

The county was fortunate to avoid tornadoes that plagued other parts of the state and region, but flooding quickly became a problem and remained prevalent throughout the county on Tuesday.

Numerous roadways, including city streets, county roads and highways have been closed due to the flooding.

County Judge Dale Freeman said because of the geographic makeup of the county, the problem is two-fold.

"Sixty to 70 percent of the county roads in the western part of the county are washed out," he said.

The county had trucks and graders working to repair roads where they could on Monday and Tuesday.

In the eastern part of the county, the water stands instead of running off.

"Forty to 45 percent of county roads on the eastern side of the county are under water," Freeman said.

Rivers rise
after rain

After the rain, the rivers continued to rise, causing additional flooding, as well as the closing of state highways. As of Tuesday morning, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department was reporting Highway 25 closed from Black Rock to Powhatan and Highway 115 closed east of Jessup.

The Lawrence County Dispatch Center reported that Highway 412 between Portia and Walnut Ridge was also closed due to flooding but was back open as of Tuesday morning.

Tuesday morning river stages showed Black River at Black Rock at 27.05 feet, 13 feet above flood stage, and Spring River at Imboden at 22.29 feet, with flood stage being 18 feet.

Among issues faced in Walnut Ridge and Hoxie were stopped up drains that prevented water from flowing and created localized flooding. Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp said one area that was of particular concern was between Northeast Carolina in Hoxie and East Georgia in Walnut Ridge.

Walnut Ridge Street Department and Fire Department personnel, along with Snapp, worked on Monday to clear garbage and other debris that had created a dam at a bridge on Northeast Carolina in Hoxie.

"This is just one more reason why people need to dispose of their garbage properly," Snapp said.

Freeman reported that the Lawrence County office of emergency management was documenting damage throughout the county and stated that he is hopeful the county will receive a disaster declaration.

Power outages

Power outages were reported for both Entergy and Craighead Electric customers.

Monty Williams with Craighead Electric said they had about 650 members without power on Sunday after two poles broke between Minturn and Hoxie.

A blown transformer was the culprit behind the Entergy outage, according to Hoxie City Clerk Katie Smith who reported Monday afternoon that the city hall had power back, while the fire department was still without electricity. All power was restored later Monday.

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