At least 16 people were killed and dozens more were unaccounted for after flash floods swept through campgrounds in western Arkansas early Friday morning.
As many as 300 people, including families with vehicles and off-road backpackers, may have been camping along the Caddo and Little Missouri Rivers as waters surged by 20 feet between midnight and dawn, according to Red Cross and state emergency officials.
As of Friday afternoon, 16 bodies had been recovered and dozens more people were still missing, said Chad Stover, a public affairs officer of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.
This wouldn’t have happened if we had prayer in school.
@Mike kay: I shouldn’t laugh at that, but I did.
In Mexico, presumed narco-paramilitaries executed 20 blindfolded and bound victims in the state of Tamaulipas and in Chihuahua the killers blocked off street escape routes, entered a drug addiction treatment center, and opened fire, killing 19 and wounding four.
We might someday want to re-think our narcotics criminalization policies so as maybe to provide a less lucrative market for the narco-barons forming armies to our South.
The inter-nets ate my post.
But yes, it is very sad to think of those people just swept away.
Well, remember how Pat Robertson and Falwell blamed 9/11 on the lack of school prayer (no really).
The victims were camping in the Ouachita National Forest, which straddles the state line between Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The forest covers hilly terrain. In fact, it contains what is purported to be the tallest hill in North America [but not quite a mountain].
I suppose the camping area is along the runoff systemt of a large and hilly area and hence the sudden flood.
[old stomping ground for me]
We’re all just a cat whisker removed from being swept away by something completely out of our control.
Karma’s a tough bitch.
@El Cid: @Mike kay: Oh yes, most definitely. Everytime a tornado strikes in the bible belt, horrible un-christian thoughts race through my mind!
Sorry El Cid, didn’t mean you.
Dozens more missing? Really?
Wow. You hear those “flash flood warnings” during storms all the time, and wonder when and where that actually happens…
Horrifying. Growing up in Colorado, we were taught to be terrified of flash floods. Every spring they had officials come to the schools and drill us on what to do. It’s literally almost instantaneous, little or no warning, and nothing you can do except scramble for high ground, if you’re lucky to have any warning at all.
Where was Obama and why didn’t he stop it. I don’t mean to make light of the tragedy but it’s only a matter of time before the president is blamed for not handling the situation.
I know I am not supposed to bring politics into this but I do wonder if these people shouldn’t get any FEMA resources since their senator(Lincoln) opposes any taxes which would fund these resources? I know it sounds nasty of me to say that but the same goes for Louisiana. Maybe then they may connect cause and effect or the consequences of their actions???
This is Obama’s Paula Jones!
coming to you from Arkansas: according to a state park spokesman, this area is referred to as being “flashy” meaning that it is prime country for flash flooding. There was one couple that did survive, though. They tied their truck between two trees and stood in the truck bed. Water came up in the bed and up to their knees or waist, but they survived. I’d say that was pretty quick thinking in a tough situation.
@abscam: As many have said, God must hate trailer parks.
Nerd timewaster. Fair warning.
This flood killed more people then the Israelis on the flotilla. How can we be so critical of Israel and give the thunderstorm a pass?
I would be quite happy to listen to them there “no government” peeps right about now…
@mai naem: what are these actions of which you speak? Thoughtcrime? Cause I can’t really think you’re realistically suggesting not helping people because of the political rhetoric of an elected official. They may be complaining about the prices but they paid their bill and they’re entitled to service, over and bleeding above the simple humanity of the situation. Bloody hell, this is exactly the don’t vote the way we approve of, we’re not giving you any snack food school of governance.
So, would you let a 16-year old camp alone in Arkansas? Would you advocate taking away the children of a parent who did allow it?
@Mike kay: You are on a roll tonight. Now I hate myself for laughing at that Paula Jones comment.
This is a serious (+2) question:
Are the sad/awful/horrifying things really all that much sadder/awfuller/horrifyinger than they used to be? Or is it just me getting older and as a result experiencing time compression and event intensity horizon? Seriously, they seem to come more quickly and viciously than they used to. As a younger person, I was (I think) attuned and sensitive to the world’s horrors (natural and human-made) — but in memory there was always a kind of built in recovery time between catastrophic events. These days, thogh, everything seems to be piling on relentlessly, with overlap, and there’s hardly time to catch one’s breath, let alone get back to normal, before the next disaster strikes.
Is it real? Is it the insatiable media maw? Is it my advancing age? Or something I haven’t even considered?
SD + 2.2 and counting (it *is* the weekend!)
That depends. Are they an EXPERT CAMPER?
@jeffreyw: Proof once again that there are just too many people out there with too much time on their hands.
I have plenty of time, lack the will. Trying to think of a recipe to try tomorrow with stuff I have on hand. Maybe fish. Could try something grilled with that pineapple salsa I saw here last night.
@beltane: just you wait, sooner enough we’ll get to “this is Obama’s Tea Pot Dome!”
Maybe and maybe not, but we do have far, far better media and reporting saturation than we ever did. Even where actual journalists aren’t present, anybody with a cellphone and a Twitter account can alert the entire world of what’s going on outside their door, and then the media can pick it up from there. And if not the media, then Facebook and Youtube.
A big part of it is the media. You wouldn’t know by watching your local news that crime is actually going down, and has been on the downswing for quite a while. But people in Iowa hear about a girl being kidnapped in Florida and think, “My God, that could have been my daughter!”
So is the answer to avoid all media totally? I’ve pretty much quit watching TV already, but I still fceel overwhelmed with bad news.
And as I’ve said before on this blog, I really am a cheerful, optimistic person at base. But it’s really getting to me recently.
This is good news for John McCain.
Wunderground has a map of the rainfall totals. 8+ inches fell in the area of the flood from June 9 to 11.
@Hamilton-Lovecraft: With Bill Clinton still around? Are you kidding???
Ah, flash flooding, the underrated weather killer. People know to seek shelter when a tornado or hurricane hits, but flash floods strike so suddenly and sometimes where you least expect it, that they are often deadlier than either tornadoes or hurricanes on a year-by-year basis.
I remember hiking along the Virgin River in Zion National Park. There were signs posted warning people to be alert to the possibility of flash flooding in the canyon (particularly the part called The Narrows where it’s just the river and the cliffs, with no higher ground on the sides of the river). The signs said that even if it’s sunny out, a thunderstorm 10 miles up the river could dump enough rain to cause a killer flash flood.
Given that it was July, when practically every day brings an afternoon thunderstorm to the southwest, I was glad to be done with that hike by around 1pm.
There’s a beautiful place just west of Austin, TX called Pedernales Falls.
On the trail down to the Falls there is a big plaque that has a picture of the Falls at normal, and then a picture of the exact same space 5 minutes later during a flash flood.
And that’s no BS, it has a clock on it that shows Normal and then Normal+5.
The difference is enough to make your sack shrivel up and make non-Sunderland* grown men cry.
Honestly, it’s freakin spooky to see how fast and how damn vicious the flash flood there is. Michael Johnson and his gold shoes could not outrun it.
*Obviously, if you’re a child of the Sunderlands then flash flooding means nothing to you and in fact you laugh at it because if your last name is Sunderland then you are an EXPERT FLASHFLOODER.
It’s more media exposure, primarily the Internet. In 1975 you might have missed the typhoon in India that killed 3,000 people because it was a story on an inner page of the newspaper that you happened not to read that day. Today it would be a leading item on any number of Web sites and 24-hour cable news shows that are virtually impossible to avoid.
Ditto with blond girls going missing.
I just realized Wikipedia has a photo of the narrows in Zion Canyon:
Now just imagine what torrential rainfall could do in that space in a short period of time. Like I said, I was glad when I got out of there while the sky was still completely clear.
Yeah, the evening news said the river(s) went from their normal 3 feet to 23 feet within a half-hour or so, at about 2am, in a valley where there’s almost no cell phone reception. Lots of families camping out with their kids in tents and trucks, and no way to so much as warn them what was coming… as if that would have done them much good under those circumstances. They won’t even have an accurate tally of the missing until neighbors and relatives call in to report all the families that don’t show up at church or work or daycare on Monday.
@New Yorker: That’s a great pic.
ETA – which is to say, get caught there and it’s done bones.
@Corner Stone: There ya go.
Gordon, The Big Express Engine
@Corner Stone: You know the creek that runs down Lamar into Town Lake? I saw that fucker rise up in a matter of minutes such that the water was nearly hitting the overpasses. The area around 12th and Lamar was under several feet of water. Fall of 1998.
Flash flood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIQrSH6LMgA
@srv: Awesome. Thanks.
The really funny thing about the plaque at the actual site?
If you look close there are people running the F away from the riverbed.
The scale involved is so much more dramatic and awesome.
But this is great.
I blame Obama.
He didn’t emote enough.
@Gordon, The Big Express Engine: I don’t know the name of the creek or river but one time I was in a law firm right on the skirts of downtown Austin proper, and their main conference room overlooked this really beautiful stream that flowed into downtown more or less.
We’re sitting their chatting about whatnot and really, within 7 to 10 minutes this beautiful stream looks like Hellsmouth. It was interesting, to say the least.
And that’s nothing to what I saw many times in West Texas as a boy on a lease we hunted on South of Kerrville, TX.
@Corner Stone: Shoal Creek on the west, and Waller Creek on the east.
JMC in the ATL
I grew up in MA, and when I first moved to TX, one of the culture shock things for me was just how different rain is here. My friends back in New England still look at me crazy when I try to explain it.
@Mnemosyne: Our brains are wired to react to a threat as though it were local. If a child in our ancestors’ village were taken by a lion, it was a direct threat to our child, and we would need to react accordingly. Today, the entire world is our village and our brains are still telling us that there is a lion threatening our child when we hear about something a continent away.
@JMC in the ATL: My dad lives South of Tucson now and there they have the “Monsoon Season”.
He laughs every time he talks about it. “A couple medium rain storms have these people freaking out.”
@SiubhanDuinne: I don’t watch any television news, and I select what to view on the interwebs. I agree that it’s overexposure and that it distorts how we view the dangers in our lives. I can’t watch much of it or I get overwhelmed–and I am a negative, pessimistic person to begin with.
@Mike Kay: with two terms, Obama’s Whiskey Ring, Indian Ring and Credit Mobilier may be in play — maybe even his Pettitcoat affair, but that requires a suicide, a quick remarriage and a high society being all atwitter and the Secretary of war, so is more unlikely
Only spell it “errbody” if literally each person in the club is gettin’ tipsy.
My sympathy to families and friends of the folks in Arkansas.
The Governor of Arkansas has already blamed the President.
He made a big deal about how this happened on a “National” Forest.
The Federal government, and Obama was to blame.
That is what you get when you elect a feriner.
They want their country back.
As global warming worsens, weather will get more violent and we’re going to have a lot more of this. As mentioned above, the midwest is already known for flash floods, and as storms get more violent and global warming causes rainy seasons to be rainier and dry seasons to get drier, people are going to have be increasingly wary.
The reason the paramilitaries entered the drug treatment center in Mexico and executed the patients is that the Mexican cartels have taken to recruiting their assassins from patients in drug treatment centers. The cartels offer the addicts a limitless supply of drugs in return for become hired killers. So in Mexico right now, cartels view all drug treatment centers as recruiting grounds for potential assassins from rival cartels.
Grew up in the Ozarks. Came back after a time or 2 around the world. Been thru a Flash flood or 4. Including one where the river rose 12 feet in 2-3 hours. Shit happens. Sorry it happened to these people, but you know what? It was going to happen to somebody.
Word to the wise: Keep your shit together and be ready to ride it out… you never know when the bull is going to buck.