As many as 300 people, including families with vehicles and off-road backpackers, may have been camping along the Caddo and Little Missouri Rivers as waters surged by 20 feet between midnight and dawn, according to Red Cross and state emergency officials.Terrified families tried to outrace the churning, swiftly rising water, some fleeing up hillsides as tents vanished, recreational vehicles flipped over and rental cabins were demolished.
Floodwaters rose as swiftly as 8 feet per hour, poring through the remote valley with such force that it peeled asphalt from roads and bark off trees. Cabins dotting the river banks were severely damaged. Mobile homes lay on their sides. Some described the quick rise of the water as a tsunami in a valley.
Graig Cowart, the pastor of the Pilgrim Rest Landmark Missionary Baptist Church, said there were 24 people still unaccounted for Saturday morning, and that their families were worried sick.
What is clear is that these types of events are happening with increasing frequency, as predicted by global warming models. To Bill McKibben's point - perhaps we are already living on planet Eaarth.