Flooding Forces Evacuations at Alabama RV Park
Bill Hare finished decorating his recreational vehicle for Christmas on Wednesday night (Dec. 9), settling in for the holidays that he plans to spend at city-owned McFarland Park in Florence, Ala.
Thursday afternoon, he was stowing the decorations and preparing to flee the area as floodwater from the Tennessee River began to threaten the park's campground, according to the Times Daily, Florence.
"I just put my Christmas tree up and now I've got to take it down," Hare said.
The Tennessee River was expected to begin spilling over its banks at the park Thursday night, prompting an evacuation of the campground earlier in the day.
A flood warning is in effect for areas along the Tennessee River in the Shoals until Sunday.
Open floodgates at Wilson Dam caused water levels on Pickwick Lake to rise quickly Thursday.
"The park might not be flooded but there's a good chance it will be," said Todd Nix, Florence community services director.
"We decided not to take any chances and err on the side of caution. So we evacuated the campground. I know it's a hardship on the campers to have to pack up and move, but we'd rather be safe than sorry."
Hare, of Muscle Shoals, has no problems with being evacuated.
"When it flooded down here in the spring, TVA didn't give us any warning," he said.
"By the time I got my trailer loaded and headed out, the road going out of the park was 12 inches deep."
Hare said he would move his trailer, which he and his wife call their condo on wheels, to Veterans Park in Florence.
Nix expects other evacuees from McFarland Park to move to Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville or other nearby campgrounds. He said some will likely return to their homes.
There were about 20 families at the park Thursday afternoon when they were asked to evacuate.
City employees spent Thursday afternoon moving trash cans and equipment at the park to higher ground.