President Barack Obama has issued a disaster declaration for nine Arkansas counties because of recent storms, tornadoes and flooding.
The declaration makes federal funds available for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans and other programs for individuals in Crawford, Garland, Howard, Jefferson, Little River, Miller, Perry, Sebastian, and Sevier counties.
The declaration comes as the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department says southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 71 in southwestern Arkansas are closed because of high water.
The department says nearly 2 1/2 miles of the highway are closed from Arkansas 108 north of Texarkana in Miller County to Arkansas 380 at Ogden and will remain closed until the water recedes and highway engineers can assess it for damage. Northbound lanes are open, but are being monitored for rising water.