Benton County Activates Emergency Center After Flooding

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Benton County officials activated their Emergency Operations Center on Friday (Aug. 9) morning to assess damage to public and private from Thursday morning's heavy rains that flooded much of the area, according to county emergency officials.

The area got another 1-2 inches Friday morning. Calls starting coming into the center within minutes from residents reporting damage to their properties.

Heavy rain early Thursday (Aug. 8) prompted Benton County Judge Bob Clinard to issue an emergency disaster declaration.

Portions of the county received between 7-10 inches of rain fall, causing widespread flash flooding and closing numerous roads, according to Benton County Emergency Management Director Robert McGowen.

Thursday's declaration will allow the possibility of additional support and possible reimbursement to the county and towns dealing with the flooding.

"If we get state or federal disaster and we are able to get individuals, individual assistance from the state or federal government, we want to be able to contact them and let them know what the process will be for them," McGowen said.

The Emergency Operations Center started conducting damage assessments Friday, as several local roads and bridges remain closed.

They began on Spanker Road in Bella Vista where swift water pushed the asphalt and took out pieces of a bridge.

"We had one bridge structure on Corinth Road that's completely a total loss, went about a tenth of a mile down the creek from what I measured,” said road superintendent Grant McCracken. “Lots of box culverts and metal pipes that have been washed away."

McCracken said some of the damage won’t be visible for days until the water recedes.

"We have six bridges that we have to monitor for scouring after an event like this, those will have to remain closed until the water is low enough so we can get underneath and visually inspect the bridges," he said.

Individuals affected by the floods are asked to call the Emergency Management Agency at 479-271-1004.

Authorities carried out nine water rescues in Northwest Arkansas on Thursday, including four in Springdale, three in Rogers, one in Bentonville and one in Siloam Springs, according to the Benton County Emergency Management Agency.

The county was still dealing with damage left by last week's severe weather before Thursday's rainfall. The damage covered much of the county's 1,400 miles-worth of roads. Highway 12 near Pollack Road in Rogers was one location where debris covered new culverts.

The weekend storm brought between 4 and 6 inches of rain to Benton County.

County Road Director Cindy Jones said road damage reports are flowing in to road workers daily.

"There was damage from one side to the other. So, Saturday morning, (Aug. 3) we were out bright and early. We had four motor graders, dump trucks, operators, supervisors, and we had roads that we needed to close down and clear the rocks and debris off of so people could get through," Jones said.

Officials said they are receiving funding from the state to help repair the roads. They pay up to 35 percent of what the project’s cost. That's a total of $700,000 so far.

Jones said if residents see any road damage in Benton County, they should call the road department at 479-271-1052.