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Life-threatening flooding likely in parts of state, forecasters say; Little Rock sets rainfall record

By Arkansas Online staff

This article was originally published February 28, 2018 at 11:08 a.m. Updated February 28, 2018 at 7:03 p.m.

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Photos by National Weather Service


7 P.M. UPDATE:

Wednesday's rain makes this the wettest February on record for Little Rock, the National Weather Service says.

As of 6 p.m., Arkansas' capital city had received 1 inch of precipitation that day, which takes the monthly total to 12.93 inches, the agency's North Little Rock office wrote on Twitter.

Records have reportedly been kept since 1874.

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

— Jillian Kremer

5:40 P.M. UPDATE:

Central and southern Arkansas are at significant risk of flash flooding overnight, the National Weather Service said Wednesday evening.

Due to high water in rivers and on roads across the state, "widespread and life-threatening" flash flooding appears likely, the agency said.

The area will likely see more than 4 inches, according to a tweet from the agency's North Little Rock office.

As of 5:30 p.m., several sections of state highways were closed due to high water, including in Ashley, Jackson, Lawrence, Lonoke and Woodruff counties, according to the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

— Rachel Herzog

4 P.M. UPDATE:

Heavy rain will continue for central and south Arkansas through Friday, the National Weather Service said.

Forecasters predict another 3 to 5 inches by Thursday morning, causing some flash flooding. Ongoing river flooding to will continue, according to the agency.

Showers and thunderstorms continued in the north and central parts of the state, the agency said.

There is also a slight risk of severe thunderstorms in south Arkansas on Wednesday evening, forecasters said, with damaging winds and large hail as the main risks and "a tornado or two" possible.

— Rachel Herzog

EARLIER:

Severe weather is possible Wednesday in Arkansas, primarily in the state’s south, according to the National Weather Service.

The main concern in areas like Arkadelphia, Pine Bluff and El Dorado will be damaging wind, North Little Rock meteorologist Brian Smith said.

A “brief tornado or two” cannot be ruled out Wednesday afternoon and into the evening hours, Smith added.

Smith said a widespread outbreak of severe weather is not expected, though residents should be prepared.

Between 3 to 5 inches of rain is forecast to fall through Thursday across the southeast half of Arkansas, including Little Rock, according to the latest advisory. Localized heavier amounts are possible.

Smith said heavy rainfall Wednesday will likely produce additional flooding across the state, especially in central and south Arkansas.

"Given a saturated ground and ongoing river flooding, any appreciable rain will aggravate an already serious high water situation," Smith cautioned.

Flood watches were in effect Wednesday morning for much of the state except for portions of northern Arkansas.

The weather service reported around 10:40 a.m. that 17 river gauges, primarily in east and south Arkansas, were at flood stage.

Major flooding was recorded at the Saline River in Rye, which is about 80 miles south of Little Rock.

In Pangburn, a pond levee collapsed Wednesday morning along the Little Red River, officials said.

—Brandon Riddle

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