USA – Major Flooding in North Eastern Arkansas After Black River Levees Fail

The flood situation in north eastern Arkansas continues. Over 500 people have been evacuated in north eastern areas of the state as the Black River at Pocahontas in Randolph County reached record levels.

Authorities have identified at least 9 levee breaches in Randolph County, three of which have been categorized as major. Over 100 Arkansas National Guardsmen have been deployed to the affected areas.

A flash flood warning remains in effect for south eastern Randolph and central Lawrence counties. According to NWS Memphis, more rain is expected and the Black River is likely to remain in major flood stage until the weekend.

Flooding has affected northern parts of the state since 28 April. At least 7 people have died and 1 is still missing.

Black River Levee Failure at Pocahontas

According to NWS Memphis, local Emergency Management authorities reported a levee on the Black River at Pocahontas failed, Wednesday 03 May 2017. Flooding continues across eastern Randolph and Lawrence counties.

NWS Memphis added that some locations that will experience flooding include Pocahontas, Walnut Ridge, Hoxie, Black Rock, College City, Portia, O’Kean, Powhatan, Giles Spur, Shannon, Dicus, Fender, Elnora, Manson and Lesterville.

NWS Little Rock said that major flooding has occurred along the Black, White, and Cache Rivers in northern and eastern Arkansas.

A record crest of 28.95 feet was reached along the Black River at Pocahontas (Randolph County) on 02 May, 2017, breaking the previous record of 28.5 feet set in late April, 2011. Major flood stage is 25 feet.

NWS Little Rock added “Prior to this unprecedented rise, evacuations were ordered on the east side of town, and Highway 67 was shut down. The river dropped a bit after a local levee failed, but levelled off as more water arrived from upstream and flowed through the failed levee.”

Black River at Pocahontas, Arkansas, reached record levels. Image: NWS

Arkansas National Guard Deployed

In a press conference yesterday, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said that 9 levee breaches had been identified in Randolph County, three of which have been categorized as “major”.

More than 500 evacuations have been carried out since the start of flooding in the northeast corner of the state, and particularly in Randolph County, Hutchinson said. As a result of the mandatory evacuations there are six shelters open in the impacted areas to house those evacuated.

The governor noted that 108 Arkansas National Guardsmen had been deployed to the areas of primary concern.

Arkansas National Guard Soldiers are currently deployed to northeast Arkansas in an effort to assist local and state authorities after heavy flooding hit Lawrence, Randolph, and Clay counties. The Guardsmen from the 87th Troop Command, headquartered in north Little Rock, Arkansas, are the soldiers responding to the disaster. These Soldiers are aiding in evacuation of citizens and also assisting law enforcement by providing security in affected areas.

Video Credit: Spc. Stephen Wright | Date Taken: 05/02/2017

Governor Warns of Flood Dangers

The Governor added that as many as 27 counties in the state had declared emergency situations. The flooding has left 7 people dead in Arkansas, with 1 still missing. At least 5 flood related deaths have also been reported in Missouri over the last week.

Governor Hutchinson asked residents of affected areas to heed all warnings.

“Whenever you see flooded waters over a roadway or a highway stop and turn around do not try to go through it.”

He added “… my admonition to the public particularly in Northeast Arkansas is to listen to the local authorities and if they order evacuation that you do so quickly.

Social Media

Featured photo: Screen grab from video by Spc. Stephen Wright, Arkansas National Guard