Friday, June 11, 2010

Floods of Emotion


Thursday evening after work I traveled to Glenwood to pick up a load of windshields. As I traveled I was watching the weather because there were supposed to be storms on the way. It was raining lightly but I had returned home before the it started raining harder. After I had made it home, the sky turned a green color and we were a bit nervous, but when we checked the TV and internet we found that we were not under any watches or warnings. Soon after I got to work Friday morning, Gina called me and told me that there had been terrible flooding at the Albert Pike Campground with many dead and many missing. The Caddo and Little Missouri Rivers had flooded during the night.



The Albert Pike Campground is located about 45 minutes from Mena over gravel roads deep in the heart of the Ouachita Mountains. The last information that I have heard is that at least 16 people including a number of children have lost their lives in the flood, though the death toll is expected to rise as more than seventy people are missing. Up to 30 people have already been rescued in the Albert Pike Campground area, and rescue crews are now searching the area on horse-back.

The flood was caused by up to nine inches of rain that fell in the early morning hours, catching many campers at Albert Pike Campground off-guard. Rescuers are having a hard time getting to the area due to the heavy rains, flooding and washed out roads.



The park is situated in a valley between two heavily forested hills, near the Little Missouri River. The "Little Missouri" usually has a water level that is so low, it looks more like a creek. People can easily wade across the river. Last night the Little Missouri got hit with 8 to 9" of rain within a very short period of time. The water level went from 3 feet to 23 feet from midnight to around 3:00am.


Rescuers are searching for anyone still missing. Family members have reported more than seventy people missing after the normally peaceful rivers rose as much as eight feet in an hour. The flood stage on the Caddo River near Caddo Gap was within 1 foot of the previous record. I traveled through Caddo Gap Thursday evening.



A U.S. Forest Service spokesman says it would have been impossible to warn everyone at a the Albert Pike campground that a flood was coming because cell phone service is spotty and there are no sirens in the sparsely populated area. Some parts of the valley are so steep and craggy that the only way out is to hike downstream. Any hikers who had taken cars to the campsites would have been blocked at low-water bridge crossings that are inundated when the rivers rise.



The raging torrent poured through the valley with such force that it peeled asphalt off roads and bark off trees. Cabins dotting the river banks were severely damaged. Mobile homes lay on their sides.



My prayers are with the families that have suffered loss, and with those who have family members missing. I can't imagine their agony.

This is the second time that I have been so close to a tragic flash flood. On July 31, 1976, while we were living in Loveland, Colorado a violent rainstorm sent a rampaging wall of water through Big Thompson Canyon. The massive flood killed 144 people. Gina and I along with my family had been picnicking along the banks of the Big Thompson River that afternoon. When it started to rain we packed up and drove home through heavy rain. We didn't know there had been a flood until the next morning. Today's tragic events brought all those memories flooding back.



Events such as these floods always bring questions to my mind. Why do these terrible things happen and why have I been spared? I don't have the answers as to why so many tragedies happen. I do know that ever since sin came into this world through Satan there have been terrible tragedies. I suppose that Adam and Eve asked "why" when Cain killed his brother Abel.

The only promise that a Christian has in this life is that there will be trouble. Our trouble free existence will be in Heaven where God will wipe away all tears.

Why do bad things happen? Because we live in a sinful world. I know that's not the kind of answer we like, but there is no better answer available.

I am eagerly looking forward to the day when "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away".

14 comments:

  1. That is terrible. The same thing happened a few years ago in France, a camping was flooded. Camping sites are not always the safest place to be during a storm, but who would think there was so much danger!

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  2. How awful! Water and fire can cause so much destruction. :(

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  3. My prayers are for the families who have suffered so with this tragedy. None of us are assured tomorrow. I survived a flood years ago when all my material things were destroyed. They can be replaced.
    My heart goes out to these survivors who have lost what can't be replaced.

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  4. Heart breaking! We must make our peace with God each day and night. We could go at any time. Thanks for the visit
    Patsy

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  5. That is tragic. How shocking it must be to wake up and find the disastrous end of so many lives. Answering is difficult.

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  6. Gosh! This is bad... Over here where I come from, we get floods quite often but nothing as serious as this...and the people would all come up in arms against the government! Hopefully this does not happen often... Do take care, all...and God bless.

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  7. Richard, I found your blog by searching 'Little Missouri Falls.' I read about your visit there last August. The photos brought back many memories. My favorite swimming hole was about a mile upstream from the falls, where an old forest road (going back to nature even then, in the 1970s) led to an abandoned campsite beside the river. It's hard to accept that such a beautiful place could be the scene of such tragedy now, at the Albert Pike campground downstream.

    Like you, I remember the Big Thompson flood, because our family used to vacation in Rocky Mountain National Park, and my sister lives in Estes Park now. That disaster is deeply ingrained in the folk memory of the Front Range. I was also thinking last night about the Lawn Lake dam collapse in July 1982, which killed three campers and tore up Estes Park -- another instance of a beautiful mountain scene suddenly and shockingly turning deadly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawn_Lake_Dam

    I'm so sorry for all who died at Albert Pike, and for their grieving families. May they find their way to a place of peace and understanding.

    Michael B.
    Sparkill, New York

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  8. HERE IS A LIST OF THE RELEASED NAMES OF THOSE WHO DIED DURING THE FLOODING:

    ANTHONY SMITH, AGE 30
    KATELYNN SMITH, 2 YEARS OLD
    JOEY SMITH, 5 YEARS OLD
    SHANE BASINGER, AGE 34
    KINSEY BASINGER, AGE 6
    ALL OF GLOSTER, LOUISIANA.

    ROBERT LEE SUMAKE, AGE 68 AND NIC SHUMAKE, AGE 7 OF DEKALB, TEXAS.

    SHERRY WADE, AGE 23 OF NEW BOSTON, TEXAS.

    ERIC SCHULTZ, AGE 38 OF NASH, TEXAS.

    BRUCE ROEDER, AGE 51, KAY ROEDER, AGE 69 AND DEBBIE ROEDER, AGE 52 OF LULING, LOUISIANA.

    GAYBLE Y. MOSS, AGE 7 AND KYLEE SULLIVAN, AGE 6 OF TEXARKANA, TEXAS.

    LESLIE JEZ, AGE 23 AND KADEN JEZ, AGE 30 OF FOREMAN, ARKANSAS.

    DEBRA MCMASTERS, AGE 43 OF SPRINGHILL, ARKANSAS.

    JULIE FREEMAN, AGE 53 OF TEXARKANA, TEXAS.

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  9. Amen!! Me, too!!!

    Such a tragic event! And I'm sure it especially breaks your heart as it is so close to home. My heart is with all of the families as well. A wonderful post, Rich! God bless you!!! Warmly, Janine

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  10. This post was sad but dead on! I will pray for the lost. I heard about it on the news and I was devastated. Very heartbreaking.

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  11. Just stopping by to see what you are up to! You and these families are in my thoughts! ~Janine

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