Ice storm debris makes flooding worse in Blytheville neighborhood

By Keith Boles - bio | email

Blytheville, AR (KAIT) -- The rainy weather is causing huge headaches for people in one Region Eight neighborhood.

This isn't the first time residents of Lee Circle in Blytheville have wound up all wet.

For the most part the city of Blytheville is pretty flat which means that rain water doesn't go away easily.

Residents of Lee Circle say the flooding caused by drainage problems seems to be getting worse.  Barbara Gourd Shaw lives on North Lee.

"When we get like a really good soaking rain, the really hard rains it floods every time. There's no doubt in my mind cause I've lived in this neighborhood for 10 years. "

And that is exactly the kind of rain that Blytheville was getting.

The U-shaped block has drains on the back of the *U* which has a slight Southwest slope.

Shaw said she talked with Blytheville's mayor about the problem.

As she pointed up the roadway Shaw told me what the mayor told her about the area.

"The road is supposed to be graded where the rain is supposed to drain off into the North side. In the drainage ditch over that way."

Robert Brooks lives next to the big North drain.

He says it's flooded more than normal this year.

"I say it depend on the rain. Bout right now we on the fourth time this year."

Brooks said they installed this drain about 5 years ago.

"It doesn't help the problem. I think it's a waste of money here, they spent 65 thousand dollars to put that thing in there. I told them it was a waste."

The water is supposed to run into a drainage ditch behind the block. From there it's supposed to run into a field but the field is higher than the drain pipes so it fights an uphill battle.

The problem is the ditch that surrounds the block is filled with ice storm debris and plants.

Kenneth Ellis the wastewater superintendent in Blytheville showed me on a map, how far the water has to flow to get away from Blytheville.

"With this past winter with the trees falling into the ditch due to the ice storm there's a lot of blockage in the main ditch that goes to Little River."

Nearly nine miles before it goes into the river. A lot of clogged ditches filled with beaver dams and ice storm debris holding the water back.

Ellis said the city has done all it can do.

"For now yes, until we can get some help getting that main ditch cleared out. "

According to Mr. Ellis the army corp of engineers will be coming in the next 18 to 20 months to work on the main ditches.

In the mean time there is a meeting being held tonight to discuss drainage issues and possible solutions.

We will keep tracking this story and will keep you updated.

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