Flooding drives DeQueen, AR, residents from their homes

Flooding drives DeQueen, AR, residents from their homes

DEQUEEN, AR (KSLA) - Imagine waking up to rushing water pouring into your home.

That was the reality early Tuesday morning for some residents of DeQueen, Ark.

The Sevier County city was among areas of the ArkLaTex hardest hit by heavy rains and flash flooding Monday through Monday night.

J. Lynn Helms Sevier County Airport recorded 4.87" of rain.

Radar estimates of rainfall show a good portion of Sevier County saw 4 inches to 6 inches of rain Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning.

Walter Smith, of the Sevier County Office of Emergency Management, said some parts the county saw even more.

"We received 8.72 inches of rain in probably a three- to four-hour span. Some of the other counties are reporting 2.5 to 3 inches. I believe Sevier County got hit the hardest."

The overnight flooding led to many residents being awakened by firefighters banging on their doors.

"Most of them were asleep and water was well in their houses. ... When they stepped out of bed, they didn't realize anything was going on," Fire Chief Michael Pruitt said .

It was storming when DeQueen resident Julie Gomez went to bed. Even so, she never thought she would be evacuated from her home overnight.

"My parents have lived here for 18 to 19 years almost. ... They said that it never flooded. So when the firefighters were banging on the door, my mom didn't think it was really flooded until she got out of the bed and [the floor was] wet."

Pruitt Trail Park off Rockefeller Avenue near the Fair Grounds also was evacuated.

"For their own safety, we asked them to evacuate," Smith said. "We knew the water was going to come up. It always does. This is a low-lying area."

Most of the people who were evacuated went to stay with relatives or friends or went to work.

Some went to the fire station, where a shelter quickly had been set up.

Remember, flooding is the Number 1 storm killer.

On average, flooding kills more people each year than tornadoes and lightning.

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