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Worst flooding in recorded history expected in Arkansas this week

The National Weather Service said in the statement that levee “overtopping” is likely with “significant impacts to life and property across a very large area.”

The Arkansas River at Van Buren has now surpassed the all-time level set in 1945. According to the National Weather Service, the current river level is at 38.14 feet. The previous historic crest of 38.10 feet was set during the 1945 flood. However, the river will continue to rise and is expected to crest at 42.5 feet on Wednesday.

The new forecast for the Arkansas River near Van Buren AR is near 42.5 feet.  The latest observation...

The new forecast for the Arkansas River near Van Buren AR is near 42.5 feet. The latest observation is 37.76 feet and the record is 38.10 set in April of 1945.
NOAA/NWS


Northeast Oklahoma has been drenched with heavy rain that is pouring into the Arkansas River, prompting authorities to open shelters, recommend evacuations and block roadways across the state, reports the Associated Press. On Saturday, near Fort Smith, one house was completely submerged on Saturday and another 500 or so homes were in imminent danger of being submerged.

On Friday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the coming flooding. By Saturday, the state Department of Emergency Management was at level-one readiness, meaning it was staffed for a major event, spokesman Melody Daniel said.


And while no injuries have been reported so far, the National Weather Service says to expect flooding to break records in Van Buren, Morrilton and Toad Suck in Faulkner County and will come close to breaking records in Ozark and Dardanelle.

State authorities are advising people to stay away from the river recreation areas and are warning boaters and swimmers to stay off the Arkansas River until further notice.

Laurie Driver, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said that small craft advisories are issued when the Arkansas River reaches a flow rate of 70,000 cubic feet per second. On Saturday, the flow rate had reached 406,000 cubic feet at Van Buren and is expected to reach 560,000 cubic feet per second by Tuesday, Driver said.

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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