Flooding and high winds damage homes and businesses in Stone County
May 6, 2021
Kadee Brosseau DeCourley
Homeowners and businesses are still cleaning up after heavy rain and high winds damaged areas in Stone County last Wednesday.
As tornado warnings were issued, flash floods swept through downtown Reeds Spring.
“It went from fast to flood, just in a matter of seconds,” Mid-Town Cafe Owner Jeff Barnhart said.
Barnhart’s cafe on Main Street in Reeds Spring only got minimal water inside the building. However, as water rushed down the street outside, he closed the restaurant early as a precaution.
“I had customers who were trapped inside. They couldn’t get to their cars. I didn’t want to risk anyone trying to come in for the sake of food. We didn’t think anyone would be crazy enough to, and we didn’t know how long it was going to last,” Barnhart said.
He and the staff cleaned up the water inside and were open again Friday morning.
“We were blessed. I can’t complain. Mopping up for 45 minutes is nothing compared to what some people are having to deal with. So, we got lucky,” Barnhart said.
Others are still cleaning up from last week’s storm. Homes in Abesville were flooded; some received up to a foot of water inside.
Superintendent Dr. Danny Humble at Galena Schools said given the amount of rain they received; it was surprising that the interior of Abesville Elementary School was not damaged.
“The Galena side as far as the school, no damage. There was lots of water, but everything was fine. In Abesville, it came down so fast that, in my 15 years here, I’ve not seen it rain like that,” Dr. Humble said.
However, he said, outside areas of the school grounds will have to be repaired.
“Our entire playground was completely underwater. I’ve never seen that,” Dr. Humble said. “Quite a bit of our fence will [likely] have to be replaced, too.”
Dr. Humble said the water receded enough by the time school dismissed that bus routes mostly ran as usual. While there is still cleaning up to do, he is glad everyone at the school remained safe during the storm.
“It happens, and when it’s happening that fast, there’s not really much you can do except watch it,” Dr. Humble said.
Meanwhile, during the same storm, strong winds damaged a home in the Indian Point area.
“We had the big storm,” Fire Inspector for Southern Stone County Fire Protection District Dylan Honea said. “There was pretty much a partial collapse of the house.”
First responders say two people were at the home when the storm hit. Neither of them was hurt.
“The man lived upstairs. The woman lived downstairs. She was downstairs. He was upstairs in the recliner when it happened,” Honea said. “He didn’t go down to the basement or anything. He was just sitting there watching TV.”
As the storm headed to the east, it also hit Shepherd of the Hills.
“The wind gusts that were coming in were just crazy,” Shepherd of the Hills Co-Owner Jeff Johnson said.
That strong wind knocked over a tree, which landed on Old Matt’s Cabin, a historic home on the property.
“The main trunk of the tree went right through a window,” Johnson said. “It knocked the window into that bedroom.”
Johnson said they removed the tree shortly after the storm but will work carefully to repair the cabin.
“It held up well, but we will not rush it just to get the window back in until we know it’s right,” Johnson said. “We want to use all the material that we can. We may have to put a new piece of wood or two in there where it broke and splintered, but for the most part, it’ll be the old window.”
Still, Johnson plans to have the cabin fully repaired in time for Old Ozark’s Settlers Days at Shepherd of the Hills scheduled for May 15 and 16. He said he’s thankful the cabin and the rest of the property were not more heavily damaged.
“That’s a very well-built structure. A lot of oak logs went into that, and it was very well-built by John Ross well over 100 years ago, and it has stood the tests of time for a lot of reasons,” Johnson said.
Throughout the county, firefighters, deputies, and even citizens helped people impacted by floods and damaging winds during Wednesday’s storm. No injuries were reported in Stone County.
“We were blessed. That’s all I can say,” Barnhart said.