Arkansas CAP battles floods, hurricanes and tornadoes
The Arkansas Wing had a busy year in 2008. After massive flooding drenched the state, the wing flew John Moran, a member of Gov. Mike Beebe’s staff, as well as state and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials above the White River. Normally, the river is about one-quarter mile across. During the 2008 floods, though, the river expanded to more than 8 miles wide, affecting residential areas as well as the state’s agriculture.
Also in 2008, Hurricane Ike pummeled the U.S. Southern coastline, causing major damage. Arkansas Wing volunteers mobilized with hundreds of other CAP members from other states to eventually accumulate more than 18,700 man-hours and more than 40,000 photographs.
As if flooding and the massive hurricane weren’t enough, Arkansas was also hit with numerous tornadoes in 2008. The state Department of Emergency Management requested Civil Air Patrol’s assistance to search for missing residents, take aerial photography of land damage and help clean up around homes, businesses and schools ripped apart by tornadoes.
The Arkansas Wing flew 18 sorties to photograph damage at numerous sites, including Little Rock Air Force Base. Lt. Col. Terry Thompson flew Little Rock-based National Weather Service meteorologist John Lewis in a CAP plane to track the path of the tornado. It wound up being 123 miles long — one of the longest ever recorded in U.S history.