Several businesses in downtown Fort Smith and Van Buren prone to flooding spend the day making preparations. Some owners are taking extra precautions to keep dry.
Business owners say drains at Brunswick Place aren’t enough to control heavy rain. Owner of No Limits Cycling Mark Palmer says water rolling off the roof isn’t the only problem flooding their stores.
“Tenth Street gets flooded a lot and when big trucks come down through here it makes a big tidal wave, comes down this alley, and just right through your door,” says Palmer.
Owners like Palmer say it only takes one heavy downpour for water to start rising.
“Sandbags work pretty good for me, but some of the other people around downtown, they don’t get so lucky,” says Palmer.
Tammy White with Tammy’s Tamales isn’t so lucky. She says she tried using sandbags in the past.
“About 15, 20 of them and doesn’t work,” says White, “The water just comes in.”
This year a plexiglass sheet was installed in the entrance in hopes of keeping water out.
“We haven’t used this yet,” says White, “This is the first time, so we’ll see.”
Businesses on Main Street in Van Buren are also preparing for torrential rain Monday afternoon. Jim Freeman with Bob Cole Bail Bonds says he’ll be monitoring the weather to determine when to put his sandbags out.
“The water moves along down Main Street pretty quick,” says Freeman, “You’ll notice there’s sandbags in front of different businesses already.”
Business owners say even if the water does leak into their stores after taking these precautions, they’ve learned from the past to keep things away from doors and off the ground.
Sebastian County Emergency Management is making sure sandbags are available for residents ahead of the upcoming heavy rain and potentially dangerous flooding.
Sandbags and sand are available, but are unfilled, according to county officials. Citizens should bring shovels to fill the sandbags and a vehicle to carry them.
Below is a list of the following locations where residents can pick up sandbags and the times the locations are open:
Sebastian County Road Dept.
201 S. Coker
7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Greenwood Street Dept.
7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
City of Fort Smith Street Dept.
3900 Kelley Hwy
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
City of Barling Street Dept.
304 Church Street
7 a.m. to 4 p.m.