Bad drainage causes streets, parking lots to flood in Poinsett County

POINSETT COUNTY, Ark. -— Sights of water taking over parking lots and roads left many in Poinsett County, Arkansas with the same thought Monday.

“I just wish this rain would stop," said resident Virginia Bentley.

Neighbors in Trumann say this is the worst flooding they’ve seen in years. Some streets were blocked off for drivers altogether.

“We knew it was coming, but I didn’t expect it to be this bad or this much," said resident Nathaniel Vinson.

City officials say it comes down to bad drainage.

They send crews to clear out the ditches when they expect rainfall like Monday's, which is about once a year. But all they can do is wait when the ditches fill up.

“We’d love to be able to just wave a magic wand and fix it, but it’s not easy," said Trumann Mayor Barbara Lewallen.

Mayor Lewallen says the flooding has a ripple effect.

“It moves this way, it will come through the St. Francis, it will go through the drainage system until it gets to the Mississippi, the Mississippi’s full.”

Trumann has a 15-acre detention pond to help with the overflow of water. It was built about five years ago after parts of Arkansas were flooded and declared a disaster area.

“It does hold a lot of water and it works well, but it won’t hold all the water that we need it to hold. I would love to have a couple more of those in strategic areas to hold water because it would help us tremendously," said the mayor.

She plans to start looking for grant funding for more drainage work.

In the meantime, the fire department’s offering free sandbags and emergency assistance to anyone in need. As of Monday evening, there were no serious reports of damage within businesses, homes or vehicles.

Schools let out early on Monday in Trumann because of the flooding and will also be closed on Tuesday.

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