This year's bizarre, remarkable weather goes down in history

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - The record books have been re-written as the year comes to a close.  2011 has been the costliest year on record for natural disasters.

Floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes have racked up $52 million in total damage across the country.

Region 8 saw its share of disastrous flooding earlier this spring, so these findings are no surprise to Pocahontas Mayor Frank Bigger.

He had a front-row seat to the historic flooding event.

"This has been a terrible year for disasters. FEMA was short of money, short of help. They brought in part-timers and people who had retired. It was a big problem for them."

He adds that the water rose so quickly, they were caught off-guard.

"The city was out 300 thousand dollars to fix levees and roads, equipment that was destroyed from the flooding."

But Mayor Bigger is thankful because he knows this year could have been a lot worse.

"Northeast Arkansas, you know, we faired pretty well as an area. If you look at it, all the things that can happen and can go wrong. Nothing compared like the hurricane up the east coast. I mean, it impacted millions of people."

Life-long city resident, Bigger says he couldn't tell where the Current River ended and the Black River began.

And now with the first year of mayoral duties under his belt, he feels that his community has been strengthened as the rebuilding continues.

"People worked really well together. When it seems like there is a crisis, people come together and neighbor helps neighbor. It really brings that home when you see what happened here with the flooding. How people chipped in and helped each other."

Federal aid from FEMA also continues to trickle into Region 8.

Copyright 2011 KAIT.  All rights reserved.