Flood-Stricken Regions Lashed by New Storms
New waves of powerful thunderstorms with winds up to 64 m.p.h. battered already flooded parts of Arkansas on Monday, knocking out power to thousands of homes and aggravating the misery from weekend flash floods that turned streets into roiling rivers.
In southeastern Texas, storm clouds threatened to dump more water into the Trinity River, already 10 miles wide in places. Overflow from the Trinity already has swamped about 4,600 homes, and many of them will remain under water for weeks.
“It’s a living hell,” said Wanda McNewmar, an evacuee staying at a shelter. “I don’t know what we’re going to do. Maybe we’ll have to live in the trees with the birds.”
The worst flooding in more than 20 years continued along stretches of the White and Wabash river systems in Indiana, which has received far more than average rainfall this year.
Residents of the Petersburg, Ind., area were warned not to use tap water after the raging White River destroyed a levee that protected the water supply and washed away at least 3,000 feet of water pipe.
Severe thunderstorms hurled more heavy rain and marble-sized hail at flood-ravaged areas of Arkansas. Trees were ripped down and buildings were damaged by high winds; electricity to 22,000 households in the Little Rock area was interrupted.
Gov. Bill Clinton sent the National Guard to Arkadelphia, where the Ouachita River rose 10 feet in 24 hours and was expected to inundate perhaps 40 houses at its crest late Monday. Troops also were dispatched to Camden, where the floodwaters were expected to peak by Thursday.
Clinton declared Garland County a state disaster area after he inspected flood damage at Hot Springs, where 13 inches of rain over the weekend sent 6-foot swells through downtown streets.
In Texas, where 41 counties have been declared federal disaster areas, the floodgates of Lake Livingston Dam continued to release a record 100,800 cubic feet of water per second into the lower Trinity River.
The outflow--five times the usual peak volume--drained the reservoir to just over 132 feet deep Monday from a high of 134 feet last week.