Worst Flood Since 1982

SETPEMBER 26, 2006 -- POSTED AT 9:45 P.M. CDT

SHARP COUNTY, AR -- Two people died and the property damages aren't even close to being added up, but still, many say, it could have been worse. The people who can say that are longtime residents along the Spring River who remember the flood of 1982. Pete Reilly is the Emergency Service Coordinator for Sharp County. He worked the 1982 flood and recalls many things that compare to Saturday's flood.

"In 1982, on December 2nd we had approximately 13 inches of rain and we had that it in a 12 hour span. This one here we had 11 and a half in a 24 hour span," says Pete Reilly.

All week, everyone says hands down, last weekend's flood was the worst since 1982. 24 years later, the floods were still very similar. Friday night, just south of Ash Flat an F1 tornado touched down and just hours later, the flooding began.

"This reminded me of '82. It was about the same way. We had a tornado the night before up at Highland destroying about 40 some businesses and things and then in the middle of the night, that's when our flooding started and went on from that. So, this is real familiar," says Reilly.

Similarities, but still many differences. In '82, the river flooded so quickly that towns surrounding the river were nearly submerged.

"In 1982, when you came across the bridge into Hardy, that was as far as you went. You came up on the hill and got on top of the hills and couldn't go anywhere. Buildings that didn't even have water in them this time had the roof submerged in '82," says Reilly.

As devastating as the 1982 flood was, you would think it would be hard to forget, but once everything is back in place, the bad memories seem to wash away with the flood waters.

"We tend to forget about it and enjoy the beauty of the country and go on and don't remember the things that can happen at times," says Reilly.

Over 2 decades later, the raging waters still haven't stopped the town from moving forward.