Forecasters Watching As Arkansas River Begins To Crest

Dec 31, 2015

Credit KATV, Channel 7 News

Major flooding continues in parts of the state along the Arkansas River.

In Little Rock, the Arkansas River is expected to crest Friday night at 26 feet. That's 3 feet above flood stage and would be the highest crest in that area since 1990. Flooding is already occurring in areas along the river, including the Big Dam Bridge and Burns Park in North Little Rock.

Forecasters say the river is cresting at Dardanelle and Morrilton and is expected to crest soon at Toad Suck Lock and Dam Tailwater.

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department says dozens of roads are closed statewide because of high water.

In eastern Arkansas, the Mississippi River is expected to crest next week, causing moderate to major flooding at Osceola and Helena-West Helena.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says multiple state agencies are involved in the response to flooding. So far, Hutchinson has issued disaster declarations for 32 of the state's 75 counties following the severe storms and flooding.

Hutchinson said in a statement Thursday that the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management is monitoring the flooding around-the-clock and holding daily conference calls with local leaders.

National Guard units have been staged to help place sand bags in some areas and help with high water transportation. Arkansas State Police troopers are providing additional patrols in evacuated areas, while state inmates are helping place sand bags as well.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is helping with swift water rescues and the state's forestry department is helping with debris cleanup.