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#203275 - 06/11/10 06:05 PM Arkansas campground(s) tragedy (flash flood)
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1918
Loc: Washington, DC
Horror and heartbreak in Arkansas today where flash flooding overnight claimed a still unknown number of campers and perhaps residents, hikers and others who may have been in the area. Thoughts and prayers for everyone affected and all engaged in the rescue effort.

The number of fatalities in the last report that I caught: 20


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100611/...ljZTE2cGVvcA--

...the water rose quickly between 1:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. A river gauge at Langley, just south of the Camp Albert Pike area, had a peak reading of 23.39 feet up from 3 feet deep at midnight.

...Floodwaters inundated campgrounds along the normally peaceful Caddo and Little Missouri rivers, swamping hikers and campers sleeping along the rivers' banks. This area of the Ouachita Mountains includes second homes, hunting camps and a number of U.S. Forest Service campgrounds.

"We don't know who was in there last night," State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said. "This is a very wide area."

... between 200 and 300 people were believed to be in the area at the time of the flooding.


http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Media/campe...ry?id=10889327

About three dozen campers were still missing in the area this afternoon as rescuers rushed to get to the isolated site,

The Caddo and Little Missouri rivers -- two normally gentle waterways -- rose by 20 feet overnight, engulfing the hikers and campers spending the night in tents along the rivers in the isolated Ouachita Mountains.

...people there would have had "very little warning or alerts" because the flooding occurred while most people were sleeping.

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#203284 - 06/11/10 08:02 PM Re: Arkansas campground(s) tragedy (flash flood) [Re: Dagny]
ireckon Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1629
Loc: Northern California
My prayers go out to the victims.

=====

Were those flash floods common in the area? Was there fair warning?

I'm thinking if I got caught in the thick of this one, I'd have to be in pretty good shape and have some good luck to be all right. A kayak and basic kayaking abilities would help too. I have no experience there.
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#203286 - 06/11/10 08:10 PM Re: Arkansas campground(s) tragedy (flash flood) [Re: ireckon]
MartinFocazio Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2177
Loc: Bucks County PA
Originally Posted By: ireckon

Were those flash floods common in the area? Was there fair warning?

I'm thinking if I got caught in the thick of this one, I'd have to be in pretty good shape and have some good luck to be all right. A kayak and basic kayaking abilities would help too. I have no experience there.


Warning came in the middle of the night. Who carries a working weather radio with flood alerts when camping? Not me.
It's a deep rural area, the flood came up so fast...it's dark...not a lot to be done without on the ground resources to warn in person. Just no time.

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#203288 - 06/11/10 08:19 PM Re: Arkansas campground(s) tragedy (flash flood) [Re: ireckon]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1918
Loc: Washington, DC
Originally Posted By: ireckon
My prayers go out to the victims.

=====

Were those flash floods common in the area? Was there fair warning?

I'm thinking if I got caught in the thick of this one, I'd have to be in pretty good shape and have some good luck to be all right. A kayak and basic kayaking abilities would help too. I have no experience there.



What I just heard on the news was that a National Weather Service flash flood warning was not issued until 2:00a. Reportedly communications in that area is spotty, as it is quite remote.

And most people were asleep.

One news report described the location of the campground as a "drainage area" and showed a Google Earth image of the river looking like a shallow creek in a swamp. Stunning deadly transformation in such a brief time.

All preliminary reporting, of course.

We'll be camping in the next month next to a small river where it enters a small lake. It's a very narrow valley not much wider than the lake and the valley walls climb steeply right out of the campground. Was just imagining being there in the middle of the night if that river rose 20 feet during a few hours in which it also rained several inches.

It's not really imaginable. That's twice the height of the shower facility. The force of that kind of water is epic. Think I've read that a car can be moved by as little as 6" of fast-moving water.

Even if my dog pulled a Lassie and provided very early warning, it'd be big trouble. Seeing images of big RVs on their sides, my teardrop would have been toast in no time. Could only hope to figure out you were in trouble in time to run up the side of the valley. Better have a flashlight handy for that.


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#203289 - 06/11/10 08:20 PM Re: Arkansas campground(s) tragedy (flash flood) [Re: Dagny]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1918
Loc: Washington, DC
Yeah, I have a weather radio but doubt it would function in that area and I probably wouldn't have had it on alert unless there had been reports of severe weather -- tornadoes -- possible overnight.


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#203293 - 06/11/10 09:42 PM Re: Arkansas campground(s) tragedy (flash flood) [Re: Dagny]
KG2V Offline

Veteran

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
I had something similar happen here in NY when I was in my teens

The Boy Scout troop I was with went up to the Catskills (western, up past Roscoe), on a Friday night, and was going to spend it's 1st night in this campground next to the Delaware River

About 1 hour after we get setup, we hear - "Get Up, get OUT NOW" - the river had just gone over its bank - we hand about 2 inches of water running through the lowest tents - by the time we grabbed a ran, I was up to mid shin - we, and everyone else in the campground got lucky that the owners were up, and it was only around 10pm. My midnight, there was a foot in the campground
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73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

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#203294 - 06/11/10 09:52 PM Re: Arkansas campground(s) tragedy (flash flood) [Re: KG2V]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1918
Loc: Washington, DC
Originally Posted By: KG2V
I had something similar happen here in NY when I was in my teens

The Boy Scout troop I was with went up to the Catskills (western, up past Roscoe), on a Friday night, and was going to spend it's 1st night in this campground next to the Delaware River

About 1 hour after we get setup, we hear - "Get Up, get OUT NOW" - the river had just gone over its bank - we hand about 2 inches of water running through the lowest tents - by the time we grabbed a ran, I was up to mid shin - we, and everyone else in the campground got lucky that the owners were up, and it was only around 10pm. My midnight, there was a foot in the campground


Yikes. That's certainly something you'd never forget.

Just heard on the news that the rain started at 9:00p -- that's when camp is starting to get quiet and I'm likely to be heading in for the evening.

The perfectly deadly storm in an extremely vulnerable location.


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#203299 - 06/11/10 11:01 PM Re: Arkansas campground(s) tragedy (flash flood) [Re: Dagny]
KG2V Offline

Veteran

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
It was a VERY VERY wet weekend - needless to say, even though we were in a slow part of the river, the tents were wrecked, and all out gear was soaked (one rule we had was "keep you gear in your pack" - paid off - we were able to grab and GO

Did freak out the scoutmaster later that weekend. By Sunday, it had MOSTLY dried out, and we are out in a field, and I look down - LOTS of wintergreen in berry - so I decided to have a snack - The scountmasted was like "You're EATING RED Berries!"

That weekend is also the ONLY time I've seen what was claimed to be a Bobcat in the wild
_________________________
73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

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#203320 - 06/12/10 11:26 AM Re: Arkansas campground(s) tragedy (flash flood) [Re: KG2V]
7point82 Offline
Addict

Registered: 11/24/05
Posts: 478
Loc: Oklahoma
I've been in the immediate area around the recreation area. It isn't a swampy area. It's pretty typical western Arkansas. Heavily forested, rocky, hilly terrain. River valleys in the area are rocky and can be very steep sided in places.

The area is quite a ways from any metropolitan area & I honestly don't know if a NOAA weather radio would be able to get a signal.

I'm hearing that they may have received as much as 9" of rain in one hour just upstream from the area impacted. This appears to have been one of those events that the only truly safe way to handle it is not to be there.
_________________________
"There is not a man of us who does not at times need a helping hand to be stretched out to him, and then shame upon him who will not stretch out the helping hand to his brother." -Theodore Roosevelt

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#203321 - 06/12/10 12:33 PM Re: Arkansas campground(s) tragedy (flash flood) [Re: 7point82]
7point82 Offline
Addict

Registered: 11/24/05
Posts: 478
Loc: Oklahoma
Here's a link to the USGS data collected in the area. It shows the discharge rate jumping from 80-100 cubic feet per second to >30,000 cubic feet per second.

I had to go back and re-read the numbers. The 87 year average flow for the Colorado River at Grand Canyon (for this week) is in the 20,000-25,000 cubic feet per second range. The Colorado (through the Grand Canyon) can go a couple of years without seeing 30k cfs.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?cb_000...ite_no=07359610

_________________________
"There is not a man of us who does not at times need a helping hand to be stretched out to him, and then shame upon him who will not stretch out the helping hand to his brother." -Theodore Roosevelt

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