severe weather

Arkansas highway officials say U.S. Highway 71 in southwestern Arkansas has reopened after being shut down for more than two weeks because of flooding.

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department says the nearly 2 1/2 mile stretch opened to traffic at 8 a.m. Sunday. The department says the reopening came after the roadway was inspected by AHTD engineers and was cleaned by maintenance crews.

Ari Sarsalari

The Arkansas Community Tree Recovery Campaign is planning to distribute 10,000 trees to replace trees destroyed by a killer tornado last April.

The campaign is a partnership between the Arbor Day Foundation and the Arkansas Forestry Commission. Five-thousand trees will be distributed in both Vilonia and Mayflower on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the fire stations in each city.

The trees will include redbud, white oak, pecan, hickory, white oak, crabapple, red mulberry, pin oak, cherrybark oak and willow oak.

U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has made disaster declarations for farmers in two Arkansas counties that suffered losses and damage due to high winds and hail that occurred on Oct. 7.

Responding to requests from Gov. Mike Beebe, Vilsack issued the primary county disaster declarations in Craighead and Mississippi counties. Additionally, Crittenden, Greene, Jackson, Lawrence, and Poinsett counties were named as contiguous disaster counties.

tornado damage
James Bryant

Members of the state's federal delegation have announced more than $1.6 million in economic development grants for Faulkner County for expansion of disaster recovery efforts and water, sewer and road infrastructure projects.

The funding is provided by the Economic Development Administration to promote job creation and foster disaster resiliency in communities affected by devastating storms.

A rally is planned for this weekend in support of reopening the Albert Pike campground for overnight use.

Overnight camping has been prohibited at the south Arkansas campground since 2010, when 20 people died in powerful flash flood after the Little Missouri River rose more than 20 feet in less than four hours.

The site is now open during daylight hours but not for overnight camping. It's owned by the U.S. Forest Service.

Gov. Mike Beebe is touring damage caused by ongoing flooding in an east Arkansas city.

The governor plans to visit Brinkley on Tuesday afternoon and tour damage caused by the flooding, which began with torrential rains on June 29. Beebe will be joined by the Brinkley mayor to tour flooded areas.

Parts of the city remain flooded more than a week after the heavy rainfall.

Beebe's office says they're currently awaiting results from damage assessments.

The National Weather Service has confirmed Arkansas' first tornado of 2014.

Forecasters in Tulsa, Okla., say an EF1 tornado hit Sunday evening in a rural area of Franklin County in western Arkansas. The weather service says the twister touched down at 8:45 p.m. about 1 mile south-southeast of the community of Vesta before lifting and touching down again in the Peter Pender area.

The weather service says the tornado's path was 5.4 miles long with a maximum width of 450 yards.

The National Weather Service is predicting torrential rainfall across Arkansas on Wednesday and Thursday.

A slow moving cold front will move into the western part of the state Wednesday afternoon and rain will begin to develop. It will become widespread overnight.

Heavy rain will continue throughout the day Thursday and should taper off by late Thursday afternoon.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Tabitha Clark says the moisture that is currently in place will interact with the cold front and cause the potential for flash flooding.

Rules For Rescuers Can't Predict Storm Turns

Jun 9, 2013

The chief of enforcement for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says there's no sign that a wildlife officer and the Scott County sheriff violated regulations when they tried to rescue two women during a flash flood May 31.

Game officer Joel Campora, Sheriff Cody Carpenter and the two women died, along with a fifth person, after the Fourche LaFave River surged after heavy rains fell near Y City.

Funeral Set For Wildlife Officer Killed In Floods

Jun 5, 2013

Funeral services have been scheduled for an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officer who died while trying to help rescue two women from rising floodwaters.

Commission spokesman Keith Stephens said in a Wednesday news release that services for Wildlife Officer 1st Class Joel Campora will be at 1 p.m. Friday at the Waldron High School football field. Stephens says Game and Fish Commission commissioners plan to attend the service.

Campora died alongside Scott County Sheriff Cody Carpenter last Friday while trying to save the women from flash floods.