Jun 11, 2010 at 9:54 am #1260031
Adam KramerBPL Member
@rbeardLocale: ATL, Southern Appalachia
CADDO GAP, Ark. – Flash floods triggered by more than a half-foot of rain wiped away campsites along a pair of southwestern Arkansas rivers early Friday. State police said a dozen people were killed and several others were stranded.
The normally peaceful Caddo and Little Missouri rivers rose by 20 feet overnight, swamping hikers and campers spending the night in the remote and normally serene Ouachita Mountains. The area also includes second homes, hunting camps and U.S. Forest Service campgrounds.
"We don't know who was in there last night," State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said. "This is a very wide area."
Sadler said officials were moving in a refrigerated truck to set up a temporary morgue. Searchers were working along the Little Missouri River in Montgomery and Pike counties and the National Guard dispatched helicopters to help in the rescue.
Sadler said 12 people had been killed in the floods.
Gov. Mike Beebe, in Dumas for an economic develop announcement, said the deaths occurred about 5:30 a.m., when the water hit its peak. He said he did not plan to visit the site immediately.
"I don't want to get in the way," Beebe said. "There is an intense search-and-rescue attempt."
The Little Missouri west of Caddo Gap stood at 3 feet Thursday but after 7.6 inches of rain fell in the area overnight the level jumped to 23.5 feet by Friday morning. At 10 a.m. it had dropped to 11.5 feet.
The damage was centered around the Camp Albert Pike area, 75 miles west of Little Rock.
Rainfall totaled 7.6 inches at Glenwood, a weather reporting station about 20 miles from the scene, according to data from the National Weather Service at North Little Rock. Marty Trexler, a senior meteorologist, said heavy rain fell throughout the region before moving into northern Arkansas later Friday morning.Jun 11, 2010 at 10:00 am #1619007
I've read some commentary that there will be more reported deaths. Roads and bridges are washed out.Jun 11, 2010 at 10:10 am #1619010
I wanted to say something about this on BPL, but I'm glad someone else has already done it. I've watched several news reports, and reporters are spinning it like camping by the river is "the thing to do" and that "everyone does it".
It's very very sad to see this happen, but it could have been prevented. It rained 7.5 inches. Basically, it rained a LOT, and these people were still camped by the river. I just wish they would have been educated about the dangers of flash flooding. My prayers go out to the families of those lost. This should be a wake-up call for many hikers who aren't already careful.Jun 11, 2010 at 10:17 am #1619016
14 dead, children among them.
I guess this was an established campground with cabins and trailer hook-ups. So people assumed it was safe. Terrible tragedy…Jun 11, 2010 at 10:28 am #1619019
Sherry ThoenyBPL Member
I am from the area and it is an established camprground. It is right by the creek which is normally small. The reports I have heard say that the river crested at 20 feet. It went from 3 feet to 20 feet in a short time. I have also heard that RVs were washed into the river. In additition to the established campground witihin Albert Pike there is also many places along the creeks and rivers in the area that people camp. There are countless spots on the side of the road right next to the water that is used for camping. I will not be suprised if the count goes up from 12. There are so many roads and camping areas around there that is will be a while before we really know how many people were there. It is a very rural area and cell reception is almost non-existent.Jun 11, 2010 at 10:31 am #1619020
I've heard that there may be 50 or more people missing. Let's hope not, it's already terrible. There was mention that 10 inches of rain was concentrated in an area.Jun 11, 2010 at 10:33 am #1619024
Here is the nearest USGS water gauge.Jun 11, 2010 at 11:31 am #1619055
I was there 2 weeks ago. It is my favorite place to hike and I always camp close to the water. I hope that no others were killed.Jun 11, 2010 at 1:07 pm #1619094
Dead now up to 16
"A check of the river guage at Langley on the Little Missouri indicates the river rose from a level of 3.81ft. at 2a.m. to a level of 23.39ft. at 5:30a.m."Jun 11, 2010 at 8:13 pm #1619216
obx hikerBPL Member
@obxcolaLocale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Heard on NPR tonight one couple rammed/jammed their pickup between 2 trees facing upstream I guess and rode it out in water up to their chests in the truck-bed holding onto ropes. The pickup was reportedly bucking a little but held.
Amazingly creative.Jun 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm #1619235
@figsterLocale: Central Arkansas
Those mountains run east – west. When it pours like that, the whole range acts as a gigantic ditch. Its my favorite part of the world and I've seen it in many fashions. The standard 3 to 4 foot range is lazy and awesome. The ten foot range is impressive. The twenty foot range is a spectacle I'd only care to see from one of the nearby mountain tops.
You'll read reports that the land was dry – that land is never dry.
Knowing those campgrounds, its hard to imagine escaping that beast except by way of superb knowledge of terrain and God.
The lucky ones got away.
JackJun 13, 2010 at 7:18 pm #1619712
Just found out one of the victims was a woman who worked for my organization (not someone I knew personally). She was camping with her granddaughter at the Albert Pike campground. Both perished.
Truly sad.Jun 13, 2010 at 7:31 pm #1619717
John NausiedaBPL Member
Living in Oregon and being someone who works outdoors and travels in fast changing conditions I am a real fan of Radar like Accuweather and I often base activities on rainskips. But when I'm actually out in the Cascades all this info vanishes. Is there a way to keep up via radio or otherwise? Here is a related blow by blow of what went down in Arkansas in relation to radar.
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/12/downpours-steep-hills-sleeping-campers-horror/?scp=2&sq=flood%20warning&st=cseJun 13, 2010 at 8:52 pm #1619747
In some valleys there is no relying on a radio signal. The Forest Service should do their job and have people that can evacuate vulnerable (not all) campgrounds when flash flood warnings are issued. This area had a flash flood watch for nearly two days prior.
It is simply poor emergency management or no emergency management. Federal law should be changed.Jun 14, 2010 at 5:44 pm #1620034
John NausiedaBPL Member
@meanderLocale: PNWJun 16, 2010 at 8:01 am #1620562
Lucas BoyerBPL Member
@jhawkwxLocale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
I respectfully disagree with you John. The Forest Service is not there to provide nanny service for every camper in a National Forest. I bet every one of us on here have wet camped adjacent to a stream w/ flash flood potential. Hell, I've camped in flash floods in the Ouachitas near streams. I didn't sleep much that night either. Terrible tragedies like these elicit a knee jerk reaction that there needs to be more big brother oversight to protect. I disagree. These tragedies should remind and educate each one of us who camps, hikes, etc. that mother nature wins every time and if we cooperate with her she throws a bone or two. I think camping in established campgrounds allows you to let your guard down and assume all is well. I wouldn't be surprised if there were warnings about flash flooding posted at the campground. I was on the Buffalo river a few weeks back and one of the parking areas clearly posted a sign stating "Area Floods, Do not Leave Vehicles Overnight". What did I see each morning I ran through there? The same SUV parked in the same place. Per NOAA: "Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard" Get educated and watch the conditions around you. Blame won't bring any of these people back, nor will another law.Jun 16, 2010 at 8:57 am #1620575
I think there may be a change, whether this campground is turned into a state park (their state parks have a ranger on site as the article stated) or other. We will see.
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