DE QUEEN, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – Some Sevier County officials are keeping a close eye on the forecast and making preparations for possible flooding.
Rainfall Wednesday is starting to flood creeks around De Queen.
“We prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” said De Queen Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt.
Pruitt has served with the department more than 30 years. When it comes to flooding in the city, he and his team have seen it all before.
“We can predict in our town what’s gonna flood,” said Pruitt. “It’s not a question of where or when. It’s gonna happen.”
Heavy rainfall causes creeks on the east and west sides of town to flow downhill into Bear Creek.
“When it gets there, it stops,” said Pruitt. “And when it stops there, it starts coming into town and that’s where our problem lies.”
Pruitt and his team reach out to residents to warn them to seek shelter on higher ground. He said some homes are known to receive several feet of floodwater inside.
If residents don’t leave, Pruitt’s team performs floodwater rescues.
“We get people out, sometimes we have to take them medicine,” said Pruitt.
Crews use a large truck they call “The Beast” for their water rescues.
“We can probably go through five, six feet of water and not even get our feet wet,” said Pruitt.
Officials are also preparing chainsaws and other equipment in case of emergency.
“A lot of water, everything gets saturated,” said Pruitt. “And high winds. Trees are gonna fall somewhere.”
Flooding is a familiar situation for first responders in the community, who said they are ready for whatever the weather brings.