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Friday, March 23, 2018, 5:51 p.m.


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Record rainfall reported in central Arkansas; more precipitation in forecast

By Arkansas Online

This article was originally published February 21, 2018 at 6:23 a.m. Updated February 21, 2018 at 7:23 p.m.


This National Weather Service graphic shows areas under various watches, warnings and advisories as of 6:15 p.m.

6:45 p.m. UPDATE

The Pulaski County Special School District has closed all schools and offices Thursday due to flooding in parts of the county.

Read the full story here.

6:30 p.m. UPDATE

Rainfall in parts of Arkansas broke daily maximum records Wednesday, the National Weather Service said, and more precipitation was in the forecast.

In Little Rock, 2.36 inches of rainfall was recorded at Adams Field by about 4 p.m., breaking the previous record from 2015 by 1 inch, according to the agency. In North Little Rock, 2.61 inches of rain accumulated, topping the record of 1.67 set in 2013.

The record in Pine Bluff was broken by more than 1 inch — 2.88 inches, compared to 2003's 1.49.

In an advisory issued at 5:45 p.m, the weather service said that the areas of rain Wednesday night will be in mostly the central and southern part of the state. Another potential round of heavy rain is likely late Thursday into Friday evening in that area.

According to the Department of Transportation's conditions map, flooded highways were reported in Jackson, Crawford, White, Clark and Lincoln counties as of 6:30 p.m.

The state's northern and northwestern counties are expected to see light freezing rain and ice accumulation of about one-tenth of 1 inch, though precipitation will diminish through the evening, the agency said. Still, freezing drizzle is possible early Thursday, according to forecasters.

For the rest of the week, that area is predicted to have more rain and thunderstorms, resulting in potential flooding, with strong thunderstorms Saturday afternoon and evening. After the weekend, the weather will be warm and dry, the agency said.

A flash flood warning was in effect until 9 p.m. Wednesday in eastern Hot Spring County in the area near the Ouachita River and below the Remmel Dam. Dam operators reported elevated releases at that dam shortly before 6 p.m.

A flood watch remained in effect for much of the central and eastern parts of the state until 11:45 p.m.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

— Rachel Herzog

4 p.m. UPDATE

A flood watch for most of Arkansas will remain in effect overnight, the National Weather Service said Wednesday afternoon.

Much of the state is expected to see light to moderate rain, with the most precipitation taking place late Thursday night and Friday evening, the agency's Little Rock office said. Light freezing rain is predicted in North Arkansas, but no significant ice accumulation is expected.

The Army Corps of Engineers has also issued a small craft advisory for the Arkansas River.

"Recent heavy rains caused flows to rise," the warning states. "During high flows, strong currents and large debris can threaten the safety of pleasure craft."

Sites reporting high water levels include Murray Lock and Dam at Little Rock, Dardanelle Lock and Dam and Russellville, Emmett Sanders Lock and Dam at Pine Bluff and Trimble Lock and Dam at Fort Smith.

The Jessieville School District in Garland County will be closed Thursday due to flooded roads, according to a tweet from the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record.

In the state's north, a winter-weather advisory was issued by the weather service for 11 counties: Washington, Benton, Carroll, Boone, Marion, Baxter, Fulton, Newton, Searcy, Stone and Izard. Freezing rain is expected, and the advisory lasts until 6 a.m. Thursday. Total accumulation of up to two-tenths of 1 inch of ice is expected.

— Rachel Herzog


Heavy rain isn't going away for much of Arkansas this week, the National Weather Service says.

As of midday Wednesday, at least 5 inches had accumulated in parts of Pulaski and Saline counties, according to Tabitha Clarke, a hydrologist at the agency's Little Rock office.

Perry County had the highest total so far, seeing more than 8.5 inches, Clarke said. Parts of western Pulaski County had more than 7 inches, she added, with high accumulation in southern Pulaski County as well.of

In Saline County, where between 5 and 6 inches of rain had already accumulated, the Saline River is expected to rise by about 5 feet, overflowing and flooding streets, she said.

Several sections of state highways were closed due to high water, including roads in White, Sebastian, Jackson and Desha counties, the Arkansas Department of Transportation said Wednesday morning.

The Pulaski County Special School District sent some students home early Wednesday in anticipation of rural roads getting more flooded.

Rain totals in northeast Arkansas ranged from 1.5 to 3 inches, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service's office in Memphis.

In Northwest Arkansas, additional icing due to continued precipitation — including freezing rain and sleet in the evening — is expected though Wednesday night, the agency's Tulsa office said. Between one and two tenths of 1 inch is possible. More rain and thunderstorm activity is expected through the week, according to forecasters.

At least 12 counties in the south and central parts of the state are also under a flood warning, which is set to expire at 3 p.m.

The precipitation is predicted to move from central and southeast Arkansas to the northern part of the state through the week, according to Clarke.

"Everyone's going to see more rain over the next few days," she said.

— Rachel Herzog

11 a.m. UPDATE

As heavy rains drenched central Arkansas on Wednesday morning, 17 students had to be rescued after their school bus drove off the side of a flooded road and got stuck, authorities said.

Read the full story here.

9:30 a.m. UPDATE

Flash flood warnings have been issued for a large swath of Arkansas, including the Little Rock area, as storms move through and drop heavy rainfall.

As of 9:30 a.m., warnings covered all or part of Cleburne County, Conway County, Faulkner County, Garland County, Hot Spring County, Lonoke County, Montgomery County, Perry County, Prairie County, Pulaski County, Saline County, Van Buren County and White County.

Most of the warnings continue through noon.

Parts of the state have seen up to 7 inches of rain, the weather service said, with more precipitation expected.

Meanwhile, in Northwest Arkansas, a winter weather advisory was in effect for Benton and Carroll counties through early Thursday morning for light freezing rain. Up to a tenth of an inch was expected.

— Gavin Lesnick

8:40 a.m. UPDATE

Strong winds toppled power lines and damaged buildings as a line of storms began its slow move through Arkansas.

The storm system brought damaging winds as it made its way into the state late Tuesday and early Wednesday. The Storm Prediction Center says trees and power lines were knocked down near De Queen in southwest Arkansas. Winds also damaged farm buildings and peeled the roof off a chicken house.

In the opposite corner of the state, utility poles were broken and a grain bin toppled near Pocahontas, about 125 miles northeast of Little Rock.

Entergy at 8:40 a.m. reported more than 4,300 customers without electricity, including roughly 1,700 in Clay County and about 1,200 in Pulaski County.

— The Associated Press

8:30 a.m. UPDATE

A flash flood warning for parts of western and central Arkansas, including west Little Rock, has been extended until noon.

The warning covers southern Faulkner County, Garland County, Saline County, northwestern Pulaski County, northern Hot Spring County and southeastern Montgomery County.

Heavy rain was continuing to fall with between 3 and 7 inches already reported in those counties, the weather service said.

— Gavin Lesnick

8 a.m. UPDATE

A flash flood warning is in effect for Scott, Polk and Montgomery counties in western Arkansas.

The National Weather Service said some areas in those counties have already received 5 inches of precipitation with heavy rain continuing. Arkansas 88 was said to be flooded between Ink and Pine Ridge.

The warning continues through 9:45 a.m.

Flood warnings, meanwhile, were issued for the Fourche Lafave River near Gravelly and near Houston, the Saline River at Benton, the Ouachita River at Arkadelphia and the Little Missouri River near Boughton.

— Gavin Lesnick

6:23 a.m. UPDATE

A flash flood warning has been issued parts of central and western Arkansas as a storm brings heavy rain to the region.

The National Weather Service issued the warning shortly before 5:30 a.m. for an area including west Little Rock. It runs through 8:30 a.m. for southern Faulkner County, Garland County, Saline County, northwestern Pulaski County, northern Hot Spring County and southeastern Montgomery County.

The weather service reported some areas have already recorded six inches of rain.

The agency said in a statement that flash floods are "likely to occur," and cautioned motorists to avoid any roads covered in water.

"Most flood deaths occur in vehicles," the statement warned.

— Gavin Lesnick


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