The Occasions Lady and Rain, Wind, Hail and a Flying Sofa

Brittney Osborn


The Occasions Lady and Rain, Wind, Hail and a Flying Sofa

We were just two days away from press day when the storm that caused flash flooding hit Downtown Jonesboro on May 22.

The skies turned dark shortly after noon, and heavy rain set in. As the wind picked up, marble-sized hail began pounding against the skylight in our office and against the front windows. As the downpour ensued, the sidewalks in front of our office transformed into a river as we watched from inside. Drains in the street were full and bubbling over with floodwater. As we watched the depth of the water at our front door climb, we knew it was a matter of time before the floodgate opened. Within minutes, all of that water began seeping under the front door of our office.

One of the things we enjoy most about being located in Downtown Jonesboro is the sense of community. We know most of our workplace neighbors and would not hesitate to call on them in an emergency.

I texted my friend, Ramey Myers, who owns and operates The Parsonage across the street with her husband John, to check on them and tell her that water was pouring in our building. She said their employees reported furniture being blown toward their building. I also texted Downtown Jonesboro Alliance Executive Director Sarah Doss to tell her downtown was flooding, and she arrived soon after to check on downtown businesses.

When the floodwaters receded, we were finally able to open the front door. As I walked outside, I saw employees of The Foundation of Arts and Rice Box doing the same thing we were doing – trying to push water back out of the building with whatever they had on hand.
As we began assessing damage, I got another text from Ramey with a photo attached.

“Someone missing a couch?”

Sitting just outside the front door of The Parsonage was a heavy, metal-framed, outdoor sofa that looked like it had been intentionally placed just in front of the restaurant’s door, but no one knew where it belonged or exactly how it landed there. No one, that is, but George Gotcher.

Gotcher, owner of Georgeous Custom Jewelry Designs located a few doors down from our office, had captured the storm on video. In the midst of the storm, those 70-mile-per-hour winds had thrown the sofa off the balcony located next door to us. The video shows it being tossed over the railing of the balcony like a beach ball, flying through the air from one side of Main Street to the other before coming to rest in front of The Parsonage.

Gotcher solves a lot of mysteries that happen on our block in Downtown Jonesboro with his surveillance cameras, and for that I am thankful. He posted the video on his Facebook page the day after the storm.
You see a lot of strange things when you live or work downtown. The sight of that river of water rushing down the sidewalk and under our door, and the sofa that flew across Main Street, those tend to stick with you.

Fortunately, no one was injured, and the damage was minimal, but it’s still storm season in Northeast Arkansas. Stay safe. Don’t let a flying sofa take you out!



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