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    Arkansas flash floods: At least 16 dead in Camp Albert Pike campground floods

    10:30 PM, Jun 11, 2010   |    comments
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    Video: More information on flooding aftermath

    Video: Ebone Monet also reports with added info

    Video: Arkansas flash flooding: Ebone Monet's report

    Video: More information on flooding aftermath

    Video: Flood damage: Aerial views

    • Albert Pike
    • Flooding from Albert Pike Campground
        

    Flash Flood/Flood Facts

    • Flash floods/floods are the #1 cause of deaths associated with thunderstorms
    • Nearly 100 people die nationwide each year
    • Most fatalities occur at night
    • Nearly half of fatalities are vehicle related
    • Responsible for billions of dollars of damage each year

    Preparedness

    • Avoid walking, swimming, or driving in flood waters.
    • Stay away from high water, storm drains, ditches, ravines, or culverts. If water is moving swiftly, even a six inch depth can knock you off your feet.
    • If you come upon flood waters, stop, turn around, and go another way. Climb to higher ground.
    • Do not let children play near storm drains.
    • Check the weather forecast before leaving for extended outdoor trips. Watch for signs of approaching storms.
    • If a campground's alarm system relies on electricity, have an alternate method to notify campers in case of power failure.
    • NOAA Weather Radio is the best means to receive warnings from the National Weather Service.

    Source: NOAA

    Related Links
  • Arkansas tragedy gains national attention
  • Various organizations helping with flood disaster relief
  • Forest service temporarily closes Albert Pike Campground
  • Developing News: Flood survivors speak out
  • Candlelight vigil planned for Ark. floods victims
  • Search for flood victims suspended for night
  • Ark. center gets calls about 73 people after flood
  • Sadler says he does not know if those killed early Friday were campers or area residents.

    He says the bodies are being moved to funeral homes in Mena. He says he has no information on the ages or identities of the dead.

    Family members have reported more than 40 people missing after the normally peaceful rivers rose as much as eight feet in an hour. The search for flood victims has been suspended due to nightfall.

    Governor Mike Beebe Friday evening declared Montgomery and Pike Counties disaster areas in the aftermath of the deadly flash flooding of the Little Missouri River.

    Beebe toured some of the flooded campsites where the water had already receded, and visited with survivors and victims' families.

    "I"ve seen flooding before, but I've never seen water do this kind of damage," Beebe said. "While this tragedy occurred in Arkansas, many of these campers were visiting us from Louisiana and Texas, and our hearts go out to everyone who lost loved ones. We are continuing the search over a wide area and offering whatever help we can to the families of all these victims." 

    Beebe also says portable cell phone towers are being dispatched to flooded areas of the state so people still stranded can have better reception.

    He tells CNN that cell phone service where flooding occurred has been nearly nonexistent. Officials hope the cell phone towers will allow stranded people to call for help.

    Ouachita National Forest officials are also temporarily closing the popular Albert Pike Campground.

    Multiple organizations are aiding in the effort, including the Arkansas Game and Fish, the U.S. Forestry Service and Arkansas State Police. Sadler says the National Guard has sent in helicopters. There is little or no cell service in the area and it's hampering the search efforts.

    He says the water level in Montgomery and Pike counties, some 75 miles west of Little Rock, peaked at 23.5 feet Friday morning. 

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is reporting the flood stage on the Little Missouri River near Langley was the highest peak since they began recording water-level stages and flow at this site in 1988 and was approximately 10 feet higher than the previous record.  

     

    The flood stage on the Caddo River near Caddo Gap was within 1 foot of the previous record. Stage and flow have been measured at this site since 1993.

    A U.S. Forest Service spokesman says it would have been impossible to warn everyone at a southwest Arkansas campground that a flood was coming because cell phone service is spotty and there are no sirens in the sparsely populated area.

    John Nichols said Friday if there had been a way to know disaster was imminent, the Albert Pike Recreation Area would have been closed.

    Hikers, campers and anglers flock to the Albert Pike area for its gorges and scenic views.

    Congressman Mike Ross says that family members looking for information on loved ones can call the Red Cross (501) 748-1010.

    You can also view a list on the South Arkansas Red Cross's Web site called "Safe and Well." There, survivors of any disaster can list themselves as safe and well, and concerned family and friends can search the list of those who have registered themselves as "safe and well."

    The State's Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in coordination with the Department of Information Systems has also set up a call center for possible missing persons as a result of this flood.

    The phone number people can call is 888-683-2336. The call center will be open until 10 p.m. tonight and Saturday and Sunday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    Statement by President Barack Obama on Arkansas Flash Flooding

    "Michelle and I would like to extend heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives during this horrible flash flood, and we offer our prayers for those who anxiously await news of loved ones still missing. State and local first responders continue their critical life saving efforts on the ground. I have instructed FEMA to be in close contact with Arkansas Emergency Management officials and to report back concerning any unmet needs; and I will ensure that FEMA continues to coordinate with our state and local partners throughout this tragedy. When natural disasters strike, our first responders are on the frontlines providing emergency assistance and keeping our communities safe. Many of them are showing true bravery today and for that I thank them."

    (Copyright 2010 by Today's THV & The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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