Sharp Co. Town Remembers 20-Year Old Flood

December 2, 2002
Posted at: 10:00 p.m. CDT

HARDY, Ark. -- Tuesday marks the 20th anniversary of when some Region 8 residents suffered one of the worst floods ever to hit the state of Arkansas.

On December 2, 1982, the small Sharp County town of Hardy got a double-dose of Mother Nature at her worst. A tornado blew through the town, followed by torrential rains that deluged the town for two days. The downpour caused flooding not seen in decades, and forced hundreds of evacuations and millions of dollars in property damage.

"It was kind of disheartening was the biggest feeling about it to lose everything," resident Kerry Evans said. "(To) kind of gather part of it back up and then comes right back and swipe it away from you again.

"My sister her and her husband lived on the river and their house was washed away," Evans, who lost a home of her own, added.

Blake Medlock was only eight years old at the time of the flood, but he still remembers the details of that day.

"To wake up that morning and to actually see basically what looked like the Mississippi River running in your back yard that was tough," Medlock said.

Another resident, Joe Harrell, owned a motel in Hardy. The rains two decades ago caused it to go underwater.

"A house set up above the motel there," Harrell said. "I didn't think nothing about it getting up that high and you could set there and see that water coming up about two inches a minute.

"You could see everything going down the river, pieces of houses, cattle and stuff," he added.

Current Hardy Mayor Louie Seibert also owned a business that sustained heavy damage 20 years ago.

"I opened the front door and just a torrent of water run right out the front door," Seibert said. "Nobody had insurance. There wasn't FEMA at that particular time. All of us were emotional about it even the people who didn't have flood damage because it disrupted our whole town."

Due to storm damage, the old Hardy bridge, along with many other landmarks, was destroyed. After a time, the bridge was re-built. Hardy is now a tourist town with more then 75 speciality shops in the downtown area. Even though the town has been able to overcome the tragedy 20 years ago. They will never forget it.