JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Early morning storms dumped flooding rains on parts of Northeast Arkansas, flooding rivers, closing roads, and even washing away a recreational vehicle.
A campground manager reported to the National Weather Service Thursday morning that the Spring River in Hardy was out of its banks.
They reported high water in River Bend and Loberg Parks. Rain also flooded the Hardy City RV Park Campground, washing away one RV.
Nearby roads were shut down. Some people in nearby neighborhoods had to be evacuated.
Hardy Assistant Police Chief Scott Rose said water levels started to fall before reaching the ‘major’ flood stage at 16 feet.
“That’s our focus, just making sure everybody’s ok, property comes second to that,” Rose said. “We’re lucky it started receding at 15 and a half, we’re very fortunate [there are] no injuries and everybody came out ok.”
Rose said before 6:00 p.m. Thursday, the levels had fallen to just above 10 feet and the water had almost receded into the banks.
Wildlife officers with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began receiving calls at 5 a.m. Thursday regarding flooded vehicles and homes near the river, according to a news release shared online.
“Kayaks and boats were used by the four officers to check for any stranded motorists or homeowners in the flooded area near Hardy,” the AGFC stated.
High water was also reported in Ravenden, Cherokee Village, and Imboden causing some roads to be closed.
Rod Lawrence tweeted this video of the river at Ravenden:
Lawrence said that people were evacuating the campgrounds as of 9 a.m. Thursday.
“We’ve got a pretty rapid water rise here,” he said. “People are pulling their RVs and boats out away from the river bank.”
He added that farmers in the area were moving their cattle and equipment to higher ground.
Rose says the city, county, and Arkansas Game & Fish helped with evacuating those in high water areas, including River Bend Park where over a hundred campers were impacted by the weather.
Dozens of people were walking around, cleaning up the damage left by the flood.
“We had a lot of campers so one of the focuses there is making sure there was nobody inside,” Rose said. “We’ve been very fortunate, there was a few rescues done.”
One person who was impacted by the flood reaching River Bend was Judy Ashby, who just moved her camper there a month ago.
“We just bought this over here, brought a camper in, left last night to go home, then it started raining,” Ashby said. “We feared something was going to happen so we came over early this morning to find this mess.”
When they got to the park, they were shocked by the damage they saw to the whole area. When they got to their camper, they were relieved with what they found.
“It just moved it a little bit,” Ashby said. “We’ll have to move it and put it back up with some jacks.”
But others weren’t as fortunate. Some RVs were flipped over, others had debris covering them. And some, torn apart.
Ashby says it’s heartbreaking to see the community hurt, but she’s thankful the impact wasn’t as bad it could have been.
“I’m thankful,” Ashby said. “I’m very thankful that God had his hand on us and I don’t think anyone got hurt. He’s a good God.”
Region 8 News Chief Meteorologist Ryan Vaughan warned viewers of the rising water levels at the Spring River.
“For those that don’t know, this river rises fast and drops fast,” he said.
The rising waters have also closed several roads in Sharp County, including Highway 175 near Cherokee Village and Highway 342 in Hardy.
In addition to water, Cherokee Village officials said they received reports of debris covering the roads, making travel hazardous.