Living Through a Natural Disaster

Local News

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA) – “Here we are again in another flood.” – Shelia Clayton, townhouse ruined by floods


This recent historic flooding in Fort Smith isn’t new to resident Shelia Clayton.

“I’ve been in one before. I’ve been in Katrina.” – Shelia Clayton, townhouse ruined by floods


She says Hurricane Katrina was worse because she was stranded in her home for several days.  


Even so, she never expected to go through something like this again. In fact, she moved to the Natural State from New Orleans to avoid it.

“Arkansas. I just didn’t think that they have stuff like this happen up here.” – Shelia Clayton, townhouse ruined by floods


Clayton’s neighbor Laura Shettleworth’s says this is the first flood she’s been through. She says when she first heard there would be historic high waters, she didn’t think much of it since a tornado had touched down a block away the week before.


“I kind of made the joke to my spouse I was like, “We need an adventure” and I wish I would have never said that because it’s been one thing after another.” -Laura Shettleworth, townhouse ruined by floods

The damage in Shettleworth’s apartment is so bad she got something she never expected. Sunflowers are now growing out of the carpet after seeds were blown all over the room and fed with the flood water.


“The smell is terrible. A lot of people didn’t think it was going to be that bad.” – Laura Shettleworth, townhouse ruined by floods

She had renter’s insurance, but when she called about it, she found out it didn’t help in this situation. 

“If the pipes burst in your neighbor’s house, and you had to relocate, then it would have covered your moving expenses.” – 
Laura Shettleworth, townhouse ruined by floods

Shettleworth says different organizations have been helpful during this time, but people’s time is what would make the difference.


“What we really needed was like, is there anyone that can help us move our things out? And that’s been the biggest challenge.” – 
Laura Shettleworth, townhouse ruined by floods

Shettleworth says she’s currently living with her parents. 


Clayton is living out of her car, trying to keep her spirits high.


“I’m going through a lot. I’m trying to hold up and be strong. Because they have other people that’s worse off than me.” – Shelia Clayton, townhouse ruined by floods

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