East Pocahontas residents warned to evacuate now, mayor said

POCAHONTAS, Ark. – Black River is going to go at least a foot above record levels this week and if even conservative estimates hold true, east Pocahontas “will be underwater.”

Those are the words of Mayor Kary Story, who issued a mandatory evacuation of east Pocahontas on Monday morning, he told NEA Report. He said it is more to do with the fact that last time we went through this, “nobody” took heed of the warning, and Pocahontas had a loss of life and major loss of property.

“We’re trying to get people to heed the warning and go a little faster so we don’t have emergency rescue situation,” Story said.

Story said he has been told the projections for Black River to crest are going to be increased but not until Tuesday, due to the changing situation. As of Monday at noon, 29.5 feet was expected to be the crest on Friday. Significant problems are expected before then, according to information provided to Story.

At 27 feet (expected Wednesday, or sooner), Highway 67 by Walmart will be reached by water. The landings (both sides) of Black River Bridge will be impassable. The bridge will be closed when the landings are under water.

At 28 feet, the Robil Addition in east Pocahontas will be under water. Homes will be flooded. Furniture, carpet, and anything left in the floor will be submerged.

At 28.5 feet, the levees will be breached by water, Story said. At that point, water will be flowing over the top of the levee and it will likely bust through.

The river is expected to crest at least a foot above that, according to current models. Story said those are already out of date.

“They’ve (National Weather Service) missed their projections so bad this time, we want to make sure everyone is aware it will probably come faster than what they’re predicting,” Story said. “They’re predicting it will reach 29.5 on Friday and they’re saying now that it’ll go higher but they won’t update prediction until tomorrow.”

National Weather Service predictions as of noon 5/1/17

Story said one rumor which has been incorrectly spread is that the city or county plans to blow the levees with dynamite. He said neither the city or county had plans to blow the levees they have control of. He also said there are no plans to close the bridge – although it will probably close at 27 feet because the landing will be underwater.

For now, the mayor’s main focus is on making certain residents in east Pocahontas know it is time to go.

“I checked that levee six different times Sunday and I ran into people they’re all packing up and leaving,” Story said. “I just want to make sure people understand the seriousness of the situation. Our levees will be breached, if projections hold true. At 28.5 feet, water will go over the levee and likely bust through.”

Story added he hoped he would be proven wrong but feared the situation, if anything, is going to be worse than expected instead of better.

“If I had a house over there, I’d be moving and getting all of my stuff,” Story said.

NEA Report has received a report the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department, located in east Pocahontas, is being evacuated. This includes inmates. We are told it is being moved to Sandhill Fire Department as a mobile command is set up during the disaster.

This situation is that serious. If you live in this area of town or know someone who does, you MUST evacuate now or you will put your life and rescue workers’ lives in danger.

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By Stan Morris | Twitter | e-mail | Facebook ; Featured photo by Jason Cissell

1 Comment

  1. So sad to see this happening again.Sadder even still is the fact that this will happen again, and again, and again without dams up river. Five rivers in one basin will NEVER be controlled without them but public outcry from landowners upstream has stopped every attempt to build dams. Pocahontas will continue to pay the price in destruction of property and LOSS OF LIFE. What a shame !

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