TRUMANN, AR (KAIT) – The city of Trumann Tuesday spent the day with a representative of FEMA to examine damage caused by flooding in October. According to Mayor Sheila Walters, the city has experienced three disasters in 2009, and anticipates another disaster to be declared because of the damage resulting from heavy rains on December 23rd and 24th.
Walters told Region 8 News 35 different sites within the city have been considered as "areas of repair" by FEMA. According to Walters, each ward has some type of water damage from the October storm.
The examination came on the same day as the city continued cleaning up damage and debris from last week's heavy rains.
"We kind of have a little flood problem here. This is probably the first year since I could remember that we didn't have our families together (for Christmas) basically because they couldn't get to my house and I couldn't get out of my house to get to theirs," said Jim Bishop.
Bishop has lived in Trumann for 25 years and said this latest flood was one of the worst he's seen.
"It's been probably, give or take, 10 to 12 years ago, it actually got a little higher than this. This is the second time since I've lived here that it's actually gotten this high," said Bishop. "It probably lacked an inch to an inch and a half to being in my house. It was actually in my yard and it washed a lot of debris and stuff up in it."
Employees with the city street and water departments Tuesday used a heavy machine to clear debris in a clogged ditch near Birch, Brian and Marcus Streets. The machine was used to keep water flowing down stream.
"It's an act of God that it happened. We just need some help. Anything that they can do," said Bishop.
Bishop said he contacted the EPA Tuesday to examine the flood water to see if it was contaminated with waste.
"It just happens. It's been here several years, but we've fought it for 25 years and we've asked numerous times for help," said Bishop.
Bishop said his main concern was the standing water. He said water from heavy rains usually takes a few days to drain.
"It just will not run off. It doesn't have to be a big rain over here. If we get an inch, two inch rain, this street will flood," said Bishop.
If December's heavy rain is considered a disaster, it would be the third of its kind in the city of Trumann this year. In February, the city experienced its second disaster, the first after the ice storm. All but two sites have been repaired from that heavy rain, Walters said.
Walters said the city may look into acquiring some property along Marcus Street to help alleviate flooding in the western part of town; however, she said it would not take care of all flooding problems.