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HOT SPRINGS – With an anticipated eight to 10 inches of rainfall and possible flash flooding predicted as early as Sunday, coupled with already saturated ground, the City of Hot Springs is taking proactive measures to protect the downtown area. Residents are asked to refrain from parking on Central Avenue on Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening in order to keep streets clear as a precautionary measure.
After participating in a conference call with the NWS and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management Friday morning, there is the potential for SIGNIFICANT rainfall over the coming weekend, into the Memorial Day Holiday. After the recent rains and ground saturation that has already occurred, the potential for FLASH FLOODING is very strong. As little as 10-12” of water, especially if flowing water, can float a vehicle and strand you in the middle of a flood! While sandbags are valuable tools to help hold back water and protect people and property, they come with their own problems once the flood has subsided.
Handling and disposal of sandbags depends on what the bag is made of and what it has come into contact with, but here are a few general guidelines for disposing of sandbags and sand after flooding.
Be careful not to cut or break the bags; try to avoid causing loose sand or litter to blow around.
Sand that has been in contact with floodwater’s containing bacteria, hazardous chemicals, sewage, septic waste, and oil or fuel protects can cause health problems and environmental damage if not handled properly.
Sandbags often contain a mixture of different types and sizes of sand, including coarse grains which can cause scratches and abrasions and fine grains easily blown about by the wind. Because of the possibility of contamination and the health and environmental risks they pose, sand from sandbags should never be used in sandboxes, playgrounds, or other areas where it will be on the ground surface or directly in contact with people. The easiest way to dispose of large numbers of sandbags is to load them into the back of a pickup truck. The sand can be used for fill, to cover icy roads and sidewalks, mixed into concrete or mortar, as a base for sidewalks or pavement, or for cover in a landfill. Sand should not be disposed of in a wetland, waterway, flood plain, or other environmentally sensitive or protected area. NYP has proudly served the industrial, agricultural, and horticultural industries as well as many government agencies with burlap, custom textile bags, packaging fabrics, and emergency sandbags since 1946. Flood maps built with out-of-date data can result in homeowners at risk of flooding not knowing the threat they face.
When Donna Edgar found out that new flood maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency would place her house in a high-risk flood zone, she couldn't believe it.
Her home, on the ranch she and her husband own in Texas hill country about 60 miles north of Austin, sits well back from the nearby Lampasas River. Maps built with out-of-date data can also result in homeowners at risk of flooding not knowing the threat they face.
It's unclear exactly how many new maps FEMA has issued in recent years are at least partly based on older data. State and local floodplain officials pointed to examples where FEMA had issued new maps based at least in part on outdated data. Using new technology, FEMA today is able to gather far more accurate elevation data than it could in the 1970s and 1980s, when most of the old flood maps were made.

With limited funding, FEMA has concentrated on updating maps for the populated areas along the coasts. When old maps are digitized, mapmakers try to match up road intersections visible on them with the ones seen in modern satellite imagery (similar to what you can see using Google Earth). When FEMA issued new maps last year for Livingston Parish in Louisiana, near Baton Rouge, they included new elevation data. Bonnie Marston's parents, Jim and Glynda Childs, moved to Andover, Maine, where Marston lives with her husband, in 2010 with the intention of building a house.
Marston spent about $1,400 to hire a surveyor, who concluded her parents did not belong in a special flood hazard area. Edgar, 68, a retired IBM software developer, said she couldn't understand why FEMA thought her house was suddenly at risk of flooding. Her husband, Thomas, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, knew David R. FEMA removed the Edgars from the special flood hazard area in March, but again it hasn't actually changed the maps.
Darling, the county's director of environmental services, said he had gotten calls from dozens of homeowners with similar complaints about the new flood maps. The contractor that created the new maps appeared to have taken shortcuts in drawing them, Darling said. The experience, Edgar said, had left her feeling deeply frustrated, as a both homeowner and a taxpayer. Just four years before the 1979 Islamic revolution, Nader Khalili abandoned his career building fancy high rises and other conventional structures and set off into the desert of Iran on a motorbike to learn more about traditional earth construction. Khalili went on to found Cal-Earth, which now teaches his simple Superadobe method to people all over the world. The gallery of images shows various structures designed by Cal-Earth, including the beautiful Earth One Vaulted House Design, the Eco Dome Moon Cocoon, and the Emergency Shelter village.
The expected heaviest rainfall amounts for Garland County could top 4.0” overnight Sunday into the morning hours Monday. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page.
Especially after a large flood, some areas may have special rules or collection dates for sandbags and flood-damaged materials. While FEMA's website allows anybody to look-up flood maps for their areas, the agency's maps don't show the age of the underlying data. Lidar, in which airplanes map terrain by firing laser pulses at the ground, can provide data that's 10 times more accurate than the old methods. Yet as we've reported, Congress, with the support of the White House, has actually cut map funding by more than half since 2010, from $221 million down to $100 million this year. But the old maps and the new imagery don't always line up correctly, leading to what Alan R. But when they applied for a loan the bank told them that FEMA's new flood maps for the county, issued the year before, had placed the land on which they planned to build in a special flood hazard area.

FEMA eventually removed the requirement for them to buy flood insurance 2014 though it didn't actually update the map. The Texas state government paid to map Burnet County, where the Edgars' ranch is located, in 2011 using lidar.
Letters of map amendment acknowledge that FEMA's maps were incorrect without actually changing them. FEMA hasn't reimbursed her for the surveying costs or for the flood insurance premium she and her husband paid. Do you live in an area that will be particularly hard hit by climate change and worry whether your home will survive?
He was convinced, according to Cal-Earth, that the only way the world’s poor could afford a home was to build with earth and fire. This is how it works, in short, though keep in mind the nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization has patented various designs. Should weather conditions warrant, pallets of sandbags will be placed in each block of downtown as well as Hill Wheatley Plaza for use by downtown merchants and property owners. Because they naturally trap collect contaminants and animal waste from the floodwaters, sandbags can quickly become a nuisance and a breeding ground for bacteria if not disposed of properly.
The mapmakers did not match up the new elevation data with the older data correctly, he said, making structures in the parish seem lower than they really are. The bank refunded the flood insurance premium, but Marston said FEMA wouldn't refund the cost of the survey. If so, you might be interested to learn about Cal-Earth, a group in California that teaches people all over the world how to build disaster-proof earth homes using tools of war such as barbed wire and sandbags.
For people who want to build their own shelter, it’s best to start with a dome with an 8-10 foot interior diameter.
First developed by Iranian architect Nader Khalili, these Superadobe homes are incredibly easy to build, affordable, and they offer great protection against the elements. Earth is packed into either short or long sandbags that are then stacked in layers or coiled into a dome structure. Barbed wire is used to provide tension, and then the whole thing is patted down with a stabilizer such as cement, lime, or asphalt emulsion. The resulting structure boasts excellent thermal mass that keeps occupants warm in winter and cool in summer. An opening in the roof provides some daylighting, though other cutouts throughout the shelter can provide more.

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