January 15, 1950

                                                            4 ARKANSAS RIVERS GO ON A RAMPAGE

                            Families Evacuated From Small Lumber Town – National Guard

                                           Put on Stand-by Basis

              Little Rock, Ark., Jan. 14 – (AP) – Flood dangers mounted in Arkansas today as four rivers swollen by melting ice and heavy rains, went on a rampage. The turbulent Ouachita River, already out of its banks at several points in south Arkansas, began creping into Calion, a small lumber town near El Dorado late today. Numerous families living in the community’s low-lying section were evacuated before nightfall. Mayor Henry Epps said the water was rising fast. He expected floodwaters to reach other sections of the town. The river was reported about four feet above the 27-foot flood stage.

                                                                        Five Deaths Caused

        Trouble spots developed on three other rivers earlier in the day, adding additional nicks in Arkansas’ battered 1950 weather picture. Five deaths have been attributed to the weather so far this year. The lower White surged over its banks at several spots in east Arkansas and forced many families from their homes. At Judsonia (White County) the Little Red was about five feet above flood level of 30 feet. It may go higher over the week-end. In northeast Arkansas, grimfaced U.S. engineers and volunteer workers battled the muddy St. Francis in attempts to keep the swollen stream from spreading more havoc and misery.

Critical areas along the White River were at Des Arc, DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) and Cotton Plant (Woodruff County). Red Cross aid, including emergency stoves and tents, were rushed to that area today to aid families driven from their farm homes by the floodwaters. More than 200 families were routed from lowlands around Cotton Plant early today. Several stores in DeValls Bluff were flooded yesterday when drainage pumps failed to carry off water from heavy rains.

                                                                        Tents Are Provided

        Governor McMath has ordered the Arkansas National Guard on a stand-by- basis to be ready to move into the stricken area of conditions worsen.

            Assistant Adjutant General H.L. McAlister said the guard transported 125 tents and stoves to points along the St. Francis and White rivers yesterday. Most of the supplies went to Wynne and Cotton Plant. The swirling St. Francis has broken out of its course in at least three spots near Paragould in northeast Arkansas. Yesterday, the river chewed away chunks of a levee at Bertig and flowed over about 3,500 acres of farm land. About 30 houses are in the area. This morning a levee chain broke near Lake City (Craighead County), flooding hundreds of acres of river bottom lands. Engineers also expect additional breaks.

            Workers also reported a levee broke at El Chute, two miles north of Senath (Dunklin County), Mo. They feared the break would send additional floodwaters into Hornersville, Mo., near the banks of the St. Francis.