Crittenden, Poinsett Counties Cleaning Up After Stormy Weekend

May 19, 2003
Posted at: 9:36 p.m. CDT

HARRISBURG, Ark. -- Heavy weekend rains have forced some Region 8 residents from their homes.

In Crittenden County, with the Mississippi River to the east, and the St. Francis River to the west, the heavy rains forced the evacuation of over 100 families. In Poinsett County, some residents are still picking up debris from Friday night's storm that damaged businesses and left the town without power through Monday night.

If the welcome sign in the small Crittenden County town of Earle were much lower to the ground, you probably couldn't see it standing above a few feet of water. Some local roads aren't ready for drivers, a couple of days after high wind and rain hit this area hard.

Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Win Rockefeller got an overall look at parts of the state hit hardest by wind and rain during a flyover Monday. During a press conference in West Memphis he encouraged the people of the area who are picking up the pieces to be helpful to their neighbors and very patient.

Meanwhile in Harrisburg, work is underway to restore things back to normal after Friday night's severe weather. For Melvin Rice, his day began around 8 a.m. Monday, he was helping to remove fallen branches from a friend's yard on Gould Street.

"They'll come out of it," Rice said of his neighbors. "But it's gonna take a lot of hard work, but I'm just glad to see that nobody came out of it major hurt or killed."

Despite some rain, the cleanup effort will continue on Gould Street until the job is done. Not even a mile away, Harrisburg High School was also hit hard. School Superintendent Danny Sample says it will take about a month to clean up the school.

"We've been putting temporary covering on the cafeteria roof," Sample said. "We're putting temporary covering on windows that received damage, and we're trying to get the water out of the way."

The good news: Fallen trees have been gathered and power has been restored to the school district. According to Mayor Donnie Faulkner, thanks to the diligent work of 400 Entergy employees, power should be restored to the rest of the city by Monday night.

"We've got all roads clear where emergency trucks can get up and down them, electricity will be restored in all of Harrisburg by night," Faulkner said.

Now it's up to the county and state to determine whether Harrisburg, and Crittenden County will be designated an emergency area in need of additional assistance.