Benton County is bracing for severe weather and flash flooding as storms are predicted to move into the area Monday (May 20) and into the overnight hours.
Benton County emergency management and road department officials discussed their game plan with the National Weather Service Monday.
“Usually the weather service doesn't do this unless they are pretty concerned about the event that's going to be occurring,” Robert McGowen, Director of Benton County Emergency Management.
Flooding caused by two separate storms in just the last month have had road crews out repairing damage. Now they are on standby for more possible flooding.
“All hands on deck and all equipment moving, we are pretty organized on where we are going to go with what crew s and we just load them up and head out,” said Cindy Jones with the county road department.
Almost 200 sites throughout the county were by recent flooding. Workers repaired roads to help withstand another flood and officials say another storm could be the test to see if it works.
“Some of the roads that have been flooded in the past, we have built those up and put bigger culverts in,” said Jones. “So some of the roads that have been damaged in the past may not get hit as hard but there will still be some, I’m sure.”
Emergency management officials will work with the American Red Cross, schools and road department in case disaster strikes.
“We have volunteers for manning our emergency operations center, if we need it,” McGowen said. “Plus we have paid personnel. It’s really just coordinating everyone and having them ready in case they are needed.”
Benton county road officials estimate flooding damage could reach up to a million dollars from the heavy rains this spring.