Flooding spreads throughout western Carroll County: Heavy rain closes 187, bridges

Thursday, August 8, 2013 ~ Updated 12:54 PM
Butler Creek at the County Road 233 bridge

CARROLL COUNTY -- Heavy rains Wednesday evening through Thursday morning caused major flash flooding, resulting in a water rescue and several road closings and washouts in parts of Carroll County -- particularly in the Eureka Springs and Holiday Island areas.

Early Thursday, in the height of the flooding, the county Special Operations Rescue Team was called out to assist Holiday Island and other western-county fire departments in a rescue operation on Butler Creek at Butler Hollow.

A Holiday Island woman, Dorothy Crookshank, 68, was retrieved from the floodwaters after her car entered a tributary stream to Butler Creek, near Railway Winery, at around 5 a.m. Crookshank called for help on her cell phone but had to leave her vehicle due to rising water, spending three hours on a tree limb while awaiting rescue. She was able to swim to shore when waters started to recede and was picked up by the Holiday Island rescue truck.

Holiday Island Fire Chief Jack Deaton said the Butler Creek bridge at County Road 232, leading into Butler Hollow, is "messed up." He said Seligman, Mo., which is at the head of Butler Hollow on the Missouri side, had received 9 inches of rain, and all that washed down in Butler Creek, which topped the bridge. Debris damaged the bridge supports, and it was still closed as of press time. Carroll County Judge Sam Barr was out to look at the damage Thursday afternoon, and also to view damage to the small railroad flatbed car bridge at CR 233, which was impassable due to a washout of fill -- stranding all the residents who live on the south side of Butler Creek.

"We'll do a temporary fix and then come back to see what needs to be done," said Barr. Both bridges had been repaired and were open to traffic by late Thursday afternoon.

Barr said there are other major washouts in the county, but said he was not yet sure how critical they are.

According to the National Weather Service, in the 24-hour period from Wednesday to midday Thursday, some areas of Carroll County received up to 8 inches of rain -- one-fifth of the entire year's total of 40 inches that some areas have received. The 8-inch rainfall in the last 24 hours also accounts for half the total rainfall that the county has had just in the last 30 days.

Eureka Springs received the most rain in the 24-hour period, with some areas getting 6 inches.

Other washouts and road closings affected Eureka Springs, Elk Ranch and Holiday Island. Magnetic Drive in Eureka Springs was closed due to large rocks and debris that had washed down from the surrounding hillsides.

North Main was "a river" early Thursday morning, said resident Barbara Kennedy, who took photos from her home on the hillside above, noting there were several waterfalls coming down the hill around her house. The street was closed for a short time, said Police Chief Earl Hyatt.

Mill Hollow was also closed for several hours because of flooding as well as debris, but was reopened Thursday afternoon. Hyatt said there was no serious damage, but crews were watching for landslides.

In Holiday Island, the base of the Haddock Creek Bridge on Stateline Drive was "ripped apart," said Fire Chief Deaton. The bridge is now impassable, and Woodsdale Drive also was impassable for a while, he noted. The Holiday Island Road Department was out moving large rocks and other debris from roadways all day.

He said there had been 3 to 4 feet of water in Elk Ranch, but that the one-lane bridge there is fine. State Highway Department trucks were out checking for damage.

Deaton said the Corps of Engineers reported that the flooding was due to surface waters only, and no releases had come from Beaver Dam.

Rainfall in both Berryville and Green Forest peaked right around 2.5 inches from Wednesday to Thursday. Berryville has received 8 to 10 inches of precipitation in just the last month, while Green Forest's 30-day total is between 6 and 8.

All of this is a stark contrast to last year, when the Berryville station of the U.S. government agency for climate data recorded just over 25 inches of precipitation for all of 2012.

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