Two new levee breaches along the swollen Arkansas and Mississippi rivers have prompted evacuations in Dardanelle, Arkansas, and Quincy, Missouri.
A levee along the swollen Arkansas River breached early Friday. Residents in about 160 homes in Dardanelle, Arkansas, were urged to evacuate. Residents in three towns were urged to evacuate after a levee breached in Missouri. Officials say flooding will not be over anytime soon.
A breach early Friday on the Holla Bend levee in Dardanelle, home to about 4,700 people and located 60 miles northwest of Little Rock, prompted Yell County officials to go door-to-door to encourage residents in about 160 homes to evacuate.
In Missouri, a levee breach along the Durgens Creek, which flows into the Mississippi River, officials ordered mandatory evacuations Thursday evening in West Quincy, Taylor and Fabius Village.
MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDER FOR WEST QUINCY (MO) DUE TO LEVEE BREAK. TAKE ACTION NOW TO LEAVE THE AREA. MAJOR FLOODING IN WEST QUINCY IS IMMINENT – AUTHORITY NORTH FABIUS DRAINAGE DISTRICT #WXMO— Marion-Lewis Co 911 (@Marion911) May 30, 2019
“Emergency management reported flooding along the Durgens Creek in Lewis County. Water is expected to flow south into West Quincy. Move to higher ground now. Act quickly to protect your life,” the National Weather Service office in St. Louis said in a flash flood warning that was issued for the area.
Even as the Arkansas River slowly begins to recede in some areas after record-levels, officials say flooding will not be over anytime soon.
Nathan Spicer, emergency management specialist in Little Rock — where the river is expected to crest at 28 feet on Monday — told the city board the rain will prolong the flood’s effects.
“This flood event could last for two, three weeks, maybe a month,” Spicer said, according to a report by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
The Arkansas River is expected to crest Friday near Fort Smith, Arkansas, at 40.8 feet, well above the previous record of 38.1 feet there but less than the 42.5 feet that had been expected.
“It will be over 40 feet for several days,” Michael Biggs, chief of the hydraulics and technical services branch for the Little Rock District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, told the Democrat Gazette. “That’s better than 42.5 feet.“
On Thursday, President Donald Trump declared an emergency in several Arkansas counties to provide assistance for emergency protective measures.
Melody Daniel, the state’s emergency management spokeswoman, told CNN more than 500 Arkansas homes have been directly impacted by flooding.
Flooding across the region has forced Amtrak to suspend service between St. Louis and Fort Worth, Texas, until June 7.
In neighboring Oklahoma, more than 2,400 people have been evacuated and more than 1,000 homes have been flooded by this long-lasting event.
Officials announced Thursday the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will gradually decrease the outflow of water from Keystone Dam through Monday, which should alleviate some flooding, the Tulsa World reported.
1.Historical level of flooding in Tulsa. USACE trying to ease rising water behind Keystone dam increased discharge rates on Sunday morning to 300,000 cubic feet per second, > than what goes over Niagra Falls. $300,000+ million dollar < 1 yr old Tulsa Gathering Place is inundated. pic.twitter.com/BqdoCCFCic— Laurie Whitesell (@LaurieAWhitesel) May 27, 2019
Authorities in the Tulsa region continue to warn people drawn to the river out of curiosity to stay away.
“What it’s going to cause and what it has caused is the attempt to rescue somebody. We’re going to have a first responder put their lives in harm’s way to save you because you chose not to listen to a very simple warning and put your life at risk,” Sgt. Shane Tuell with Tulsa police told KTUL.
Tuell noted that even if “the water” or a “sinkhole doesn’t get you,” the water is unsanitary and could cause illness. “There are snakes that have been displaced and are not very happy,” Tuell added.
Meanwhile, according to a new annual report, 7.3 million homes at risk of hurricane storm surge on the US East Coast. Get prepared and be ready for this new burst of extreme weather.