Preparing for the Worst and Hoping for the Best

JANUARY 15, 2007 -- POSTED AT 10:30 P.M. CST

OIL TROUGH, AR -- Tabitha Ballard and her family have prepared their home for the worst.

"What we're trying to do is pin point exactly what point it's coming in our house," says Tabitha Ballard.

They've seen what the overflowing White River waters can do and that's why they decided to take matters into their own hands.

"In my mind, the 200 sand bags that were prepared were not nearly enough to protect what needed to be protected," says Ballard.

The city prepared the first 200 sand bags, but Ballard and her family made over 300 more for their home and shared with their neighbors. They've lined the outside of their home and all the doors. On the inside, they've even put their furniture up on blocks. They're hoping there won't be a repeat of the spring of 2004.

"I woke up at 6:00 A.M. and I looked outside and there was water all over. Within five minutes a vehicle drove by and when it did the water started coming in and it never stopped," says Ballard.

For about 24 hours, the Ballards' home was filled with water about a foot deep. Since they were not prepared for the flood, they had to repair an estimated $30,000 worth of damages.

"In 2004, not one person came and said get ready, you're going to be flooded. No one knew that," says Ballard.

But, today they do know what can happen and that's why Ballard she's wondering why the city isn't protecting their residents.

"I'm asking the city again what they're ready to do for our next situation so that we can be at ease the next time the water levels start getting up knowing that there's some kind of plan in place," says Ballard.

K8 News spoke with the Mayor of Oil Trough, Buddy Davis who said that he understands the Ballards' frustrations, but the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers did a flood study on the area a few years ago and basically told the city there was nothing they could do. They claimed Oil Trough was too small to justify the federal government building a levee to protect the town.