Hundreds Forced To Flee Homes In Arkansas Floods   April 20, 1973     

PARAGOULD, Ark.  (AP)----   Hundreds fled to high ground Thursday when Eight Mile Creek, gorged by nearly eight inches of rain, spilled out of bands and flooded residential sections of Paragould.   Charles Cozart, Greene County civil defense director, estimated 3,000 persons were forced from their homes by flash flooding.  Many returned to their residences Thursday night as water began to recede, he said.   Authorities reported no injury, but Cozart said the flooding was the worst disaster to strike in his lifetime at Paragould, a Northeast Arkansas town of about 12,000.   At DeWitt, police said several persons had to be evacuated from homes because of flooding.   Cozart said losses here would run into millions of dollars.   National Guardsmen, county and state employes, civil defense personnel and other volunteers used boats and big trucks to evacuate persons trapped by the water.  Cozart said it rose four to six feet in northern and southern sections of the city.   The center of town, on high ground, was spared.  Surface water seeped into some Main Street stores.   Rescuers finished evacuating residents about 10:15 p.m. Thursday.   Six hundred pupils were taken by boat and truck from the one story  Paragould High School about noon as water swirled to cartop level in the area, about three blocks from the creek.   At one time, Cozart said, all roads into Paragould were under water.   James Biggs, among the volunteers rescuing persons from their homes, said the water rose four feet during one hour in places.     

Typed by:  Shirley Cross