LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Recent heavy rainfall that has plagued the state especially in northwest Arkansas and northeast Oklahoma is causing the Arkansas River to flow higher than normal. Due to this, river flooding is expected.
While this will be nowhere near close to the historic flooding of the Arkansas River in 2019, there will be locations along the river that are forecast to reach minor to moderate flood stage over the next several days.
At the Van Buren, Arkansas gauge, the river is forecast to peak at 27.5 ft which is in moderate flood stage, and be back below flood stage altogether by Saturday afternoon.
With a water level near 27 ft, you can expect extensive lowland flooding occurring east of the I-540 bridge to Vache Grasse Creek. Sand and gravel companies, marine terminals, and similar businesses in the floodplain begin to flood. The lowest seating rows in the Kelley amphitheater are covered by high water.
Extensive agricultural lowland flooding occurs along the shoreline from Van Buren downstream to Lavaca. Some rural roads near Lavaca are impassable. Much of Kelley Park northwest of downtown Fort Smith is flooded.
Sometime Thursday afternoon/evening, the Arkansas River and Ozark Lock and Dam Tailwater should peak at 364.5ft which is just shy of reaching major flood stage. By 2 PM Saturday, water levels at this point will be out of flood stage.
Impacts at 364.5ft: County Roads 228 and 4 south of Coal Hill in Johnson County are inundated. Roads northeast of Scranton in Logan County are inundated by backwater up Cane Creek. This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation.
Patrolling of McLean Bottom Levee in Logan County and Lower Hartman Levee in Johnson County begins. Flooding spreads over more than 4,000 acres in Franklin and Logan Counties. Numerous gas fields are flooded. Some agricultural lands in Johnson County also are flooded.
Flooding spreads over more than 4,000 acres in Franklin and Logan Counties. Numerous gas fields are flooded.
Flooding affects agricultural use lands along the river downstream of the lock and dam in Franklin County. Gas fields are also subject to flooding downstream. Equipment and livestock should be moved to higher ground. North 5th Street in Logan County near the Six Mile Levee begins to flood and may cut off access to a nearby residence.
At Dardanelle, the Arkansas River is expected to peak around noon on Friday at 35 ft which is in minor flood stage. Early Saturday morning, water levels are forecast to drop out of flood stage.
Impacts at 35ft: State Highway 155 in Yell County and County Roads inside the levee flooded. About 5000 acres of farmland flooded. Galla Creek Wildlife Management area partially flooded and State Highway 105 along the river may be affected.
In Morrilton, the Arkansas River should peak just shy of the moderate flood stage at 33.8 ft by Friday afternoon. Water levels could remain within flood stage through early Sunday morning.
Impacts near 34 ft: Backwaters up Point Remove Creek will flood acres of cropland. Extensive agricultural acreage downstream of Morrilton along the right bank and north of Ormond Lock and Dam. Remove equipment in the floodplain. Commercial and industrial establishments downstream of the State Highway 9 Bridge are affected.
Down the river at Toad Suck Lock and Dam, the water level is forecast to reach 277.9 ft which is barely below moderate flood stage. It should reach this peak water level by Saturday morning, coming out of flood stage entirely by Sunday morning.
Impacts at 278 ft: Mobile homes in the Toad Suck Community on the right descending bank near the State Highway 60 Bridge are threatened.
Additional residences in Toad Suck Community are affected along the right descending bank near State Highway 60 Bridge.
Extensive farmlands along the river in Perry, Conway, and Faulkner counties inundated. Lollie Community affected. Additional farmlands in Faulkner County flooded by backwater up Palarm Creek and Tupelo Bayou.
In Little Rock, flood stage is not forecast to be reached, only action stage at 19.2 ft.
With a water level of 19.2 ft, farmlands downstream of Little Rock are affected. The Bill Clark Presidential Park Wetlands are inundated. Portions of Burns Park, Cooks Landing, and the Arkansas River Trail on the North Little Rock side are inundated.
By Sunday afternoon, the Arkansas River should peak just below moderate flood stage at 43.8 ft. It should drop out of flood stage Monday, May 3rd.
Impacts with a water level of 44 ft: Trulock Bay Residential Addition upstream of U.S. Highway 79 Business Bridge is affected.
Island Harbour Estates Road is impassible, access by boat only to Island Harbour homes. Knotts Island Road impassible and residents should monitor the river for any additional rises.
Regional Park flooded with the gate at Regional Park Road closed. This will prevent access to the AGFC Delta Rivers Nature Center and Harbor Oaks public golf course. Some damage in the lowlands inside the levees in Pine Bluff. Water over Knotts Island Road.
Minor flooding of property in the Riverside Addition west of Lake Langhofer. Water starts to get over Acorn Road.
At Pendleton, the Arkansas River is forecast to only reach action stage at this time which should occur early Monday morning, May 3rd.
Near 31ft, Residences inside the levee just upstream of the Pendleton Bridge are affected.
Why are some locations reporting hundreds of feet for their river gauge and others not?
You may have noticed above some locations like Toad Suck Lock and Dam report a level in the hundreds of feet. The reason for that is because this gauge is based on the elevation of that location.
If you look at the Little Rock gauge, that site is based on the depth of the water from the floor of the river.