Wet Weather Keeping Emergency Crews Busy

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BUFFALO RIVER – The National Park Service is actively searching for a missing person on the upper end of the Buffalo River near Ponca, Arkansas.

First responders were contacted around 11 o’clock Wednesday morning, and told two people were in need of help. One of the individuals was trapped on a gravel bar, the second was in the water.

Wednesday afternoon, the person on the gravel bar was located and rescued, the search continues for the other individual.

Like the emergency crews in Arkansas, first responders in Missouri are also dealing with the effects of heavy rains and high water levels.

In Stone and Taney Counties, dozens of trees were toppled due to a combination of strong winds and soaked earth.

Scott Barker, owner of Barker’s Tree Service, spent part of the afternoon cutting a tree off of a lake home in Blue Eye.

“This is the worst call we’ve received yet, that’s why we’re working on it out here in the rain,” says Barker. “We’ve got a couple other roofs to do too.”

Barkers says the calls started coming in around three o’clock Wednesday morning, and continued to pile up throughout the day.

“Last week we have torrential rains, about five inches in this area, so the ground is saturated,” he says. “About 2:30 this morning we had a little bit of wind and this tree uprooted.”

“I wouldn’t even estimate the number of trees that are down [in the county],” says Stone County Emergency Management Director, Tom Martin.

“I know we’ve had at least 12 different places on the road, either state highways or county roads… That’s just the roadways,” he says.

Martin says with more rain in the forecast, he’s concerned about what the weekend could hold in store.

“That’s going to be a real issue, not only with the fact of the ground being saturated but the flooding that’s going to be caused by the runoff,” he says.

The rain in the region has to end up somewhere, the James River and Table Rock Lake being two common destinations.

Ahead of the rain, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is warning residents that if they were hit by flooding in 2008, 2011 and 2015, there is a chance they will see high water again.

“I know if it continues like I think it’s going to, we’re probably going to have a number of people that’s going to evacuate their houses because of the flooding,” says Martin.

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