Flooding forces evacuations in West Fork

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Sunday morning flooding in Northwest Arkansas towns closed roads in Greenland and West Fork, and a number of people were evacuated as the rising waters threatened homes.

In West Fork, the waters near Riverside Park rose to the bottom portion of the bridge and crept up to two nearby houses. As a precaution, four people and three dogs were evacuated, said West Fork police officer Tyler Underwood.

“We’re basically kind of thankful for being alive right now,” said Chad Reaves, one of the homeowners who was evacuated. “The weather got really bad, it rained overnight. We had water basically touching my house. Everything was pretty crazy.”

Reaves said a police officer knocked on his door Sunday morning to inform him that he and his girlfriend, Megan Hershey, needed to evacuate the home due to rising waters. He said he warmed up a pot of coffee before the two departed, and when the three-minute timer ended, the river was already climbing the side of his house.

“My car was parked right over here,” Hershey said, pointing to a patch near her driveway. “My tires were probably [halfway] high in the water.”

A portion of Highway 71 in Greenland was overtaken by floodwaters. Police from Greenland and West Fork worked together to set up blockades and keep people from traversing through the rushing water.

“The water has risen over all four lanes,” Underwood said while blocking off the road. “We’re turning traffic around so nothing bad happens.”

Amanda Little moved to Greenland a week ago. She wasn’t even completely unpacked yet when she noticed her yard had flooded from the water that had collected in the street and overflowed to her property. 

“This morning, I woke up after drinking coffee and started to panic at the water level in my yard,” Little said. “Tomorrow, my plan is to get in touch with local officials and see what my resources are and educate myself on how I can get help to plan this drainage issue and find a solution.”

Five homes in the Winslow area were also evacuated, said Capt. Josh McConnell from the Washington Co. Sheriff’s Office. Farmington police were enlisted to aid in that process. With fresh memories of the ongoing recovery process in Arkansas’ River Valley, those living in Sunday’s flood-affected areas said they were simply happy the situation didn’t escalate.

“We’re thankful,” Reaves said. “Thank goodness that we’re okay.”

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