Midwestern Flooding Bursts Arkansas River Levee
The Arkansas River ripped through a 40-foot section of a levee around 75 miles northwest of Little Rock, Arkansas early in the morning of Friday, May 31. This prompted flash-flood warnings and evacuations in rural areas around Dardanelle and Holla Bend.
The flash flood alert warned that some 5,700 people, including four schools and a hospital, were potentially exposed to flooding. The National Weather Service urged people to move to higher ground.
Dardanelle Mayor Jimmy Witt called on his 4,500 residents to begin immediate sandbagging operations. These efforts can protect against floods, but attempts may not do much against the historic amount of water moving into the area.
“An historic flood event is expected along the Arkansas River in the coming days,” warned the weather service in Little Rock. “Some long-time record crests could be surpassed by five feet above the record set in 1945.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of Tulsa-area homes have flooded in recent weeks with high water rolling downstream as the Arkansas River makes its way to its confluence with the Mississippi River. Authorities say flooding danger will rise through at least the weekend along the river. As a result, authorities are urging residents to evacuate the area. It is a largely rural space with dirt roads and farm fields, which lend themselves to additional flooding.
Emergency management officials say crews were going door-to-door to recommend evacuation for around 160 homes. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said more than 500 homes have been affected by flooding.