Downpour Swamps Arkansas Town; Dam in Texas Is Sinking
Up to 13 inches of rainfall in Arkansas washed out bridges, swept away cars and forced hundreds of people to flee to higher ground Sunday, while an overburdened dam in north-central Texas was sinking and feared to be near collapse.
The downpour dumped more than 12 inches of rain in Hot Springs, Ark., and left some roads under water 7 feet deep. In the downtown area, automobiles floated down streets and crashed into storefronts, authorities said.
About 400 homes in and around Hot Springs, a central Arkansas resort town, were evacuated early Sunday, but most residents had returned by the afternoon, Ray Briggler of the state Office of Emergency Services said.
Garland County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Garner described the businesses in downtown Hot Springs as “full of water.” He said no injuries were known and no one had been reported missing. A sheriff’s dispatcher said that most county roads were not passable.
“There was very deep water inside the city, up to 7 feet,” Garner said. Fire Marshal Richard West said that more than 100 people were stranded by rising water and had to be rescued.
The rain caused a rockslide that closed Arkansas 88 in Polk County.
Thunderstorms battered much of Texas on Sunday. Strong winds and heavy rains knocked down trees and power lines.
Meanwhile, the Lost Creek Reservoir Dam on the Trinity River tributary system was feared near collapse after a section of the dam about half a mile wide sank at least 20 feet.