A wave of storms washed out roads, overfilled rivers, caused power failures and led to the death of a man in Clay County on Saturday.
As rainfall and strong winds bombarded the state, a trailer home in the 4600 block of Arkansas 90 was blown into a pond, Clay County Sheriff Terry Miller said Saturday evening.
Inside the home, alone, was 83-year-old Albert Charles Foster, the sheriff said.
Foster was pronounced dead at the scene, Miller said. No other injuries had been reported. Few other details were immediately available.
A wall of thunderstorms marched across Arkansas throughout Saturday evening, continuing an onslaught of rain that had dumped in excess of 10 inches over the past 96 hours in some parts of the Natural State.
Much of the state was under a tornado watch until at least 9 p.m. Saturday. Parts of Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas were part of the tornado watch.
The National Weather Service said the storm system sweeping from the Plains across the Mid-South was also capable of producing wind gusts of up to 75 mph and hail up to 2 inches in diameter, or about the size of an egg.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a tweet Saturday morning that he had spoken with A.J. Gary, director of the state Department of Emergency Management, adding, "We are monitoring the flooding closely, and I'm grateful for all of the volunteers that are carrying out preventive measures."
Five counties -- Chicot, Clark, Lee, Randolph and White -- had already declared emergencies, though that number could rise in the coming days, said Dan Noble, spokesman for the state Emergency Management Department.
At least 40 counties, including the five in states of emergency, have reported some sort of "weather-related incident" to the state agency, Noble said.
The roof was blown off the Keiser Baptist Church in Mississippi County, Noble said. The Rodeway Inn near Interstate 55 in Osceola also lost its roof, Noble said.
The McAlmont Fire Department in Pulaski County was responding to a different call Saturday when firefighters came across a Mustang sitting on the Trammel Road underpass underneath U.S. 67/167, Fire Chief Bobby Moss said.
The car was in water, and inside were two women and two children whom firefighters rescued, Moss said.
Officials would have driven a different direction, therefore missing the women and children, if they weren't operating a high-water vehicle which could handle the conditions, Moss said.
In nearby Sherwood, wading through a foot of water, Bret Lukas and his wife carted refrigerators, four-wheelers, a golf cart, a washer and a dryer out of their Sherwood garage.
The Lukases have dealt with flooding before. But Saturday was different.
Because of all the moisture in the air from days of rain, every possession was dripping wet with condensation, regardless of whether it had sat in water, Lukas said.
The home is also about 100 yards from a sewage treatment plant, he added.
"I feel like the mold is going to start soon," Lukas said.
In Faulkner County, officials had 130,000 bags ready to fill with sand, said David Hogue, a county attorney.
Volunteer firefighters filled hundreds of bags at the county's emergency management office and handed them out to the public, Hogue said.
A couple of Faulkner County homes had flooded, and those residents took shelter at a junior high school in Mayflower, Hogue said.
For much of Saturday, most counties in central and eastern Arkansas were under a flash flood warning.
Earlier in the day, before the brunt of Saturday's rain, the Fourche La Fave, Little Missouri, Little Red, Ouachita, Petit Jean and White rivers were all at a minor flood stage, according to Dylan Cooper, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in North Little Rock.
That means water was beginning to spill over the riverbanks into fields and was creeping toward homes or buildings in flood-prone areas, he said. Portions of those rivers were expected to rise to a moderate level, increasing the scope of the damage.
Sections of the Cache River were expected to rise to a major flood level, Cooper said.
About 6,500 Entergy customers in Arkansas had their power interrupted by the storms, the utility tweeted about 5:15 p.m. Saturday. Most of the power cuts were in White and Pulaski counties, though failures were scattered across central Arkansas.
Later in the evening, the number had risen to about 7,870 affected customers.
The utility said it was responding "as quickly and as safely as possible."
Safety also was a concern for crews that attempted to raise an overturned tractor-trailer in an eastbound lane of Interstate 440 in Pulaski County.
The trailer, which was carrying metal pipes, flipped and spilled its contents near the exit to Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field, Arkansas Department of Transportation spokesman Danny Straessle said.
The problem was too much for a local wrecker company in those conditions, Straessle said. So the trailer and its debris were pushed to the side of the road, he said.
As of Saturday evening, about 25 segments of state highways were shut down due to high water.
With the rain from previous days, the ground is super saturated, and trees along rural highways will be vulnerable to toppling when strong winds blow, Straessle said.
Also, after the rain clears, the creeks will continue to rise, the tributaries will continue to fill and the rivers will continue to swell, he said. The exact effects won't be known for days.
"Right now, it's pretty much a waiting game," Straessle said.
Information for this article was contributed by staff members of The Associated Press.
A man walks his dog through a soaked Indianhead Park in Sherwood during a thunderstorm Saturday.
Andrea Lukas and her son, Brigham, 6, walk into the flooded garage of their home in Sherwood on Saturday. Lukas said floodwaters began creeping in Friday night, but the family was able to move belongings into other parts of the house before they got wet.
Brett Lukas walks through waist-deep water in his backyard as his son, Brigham, 6, looks on from the deck of their home in Sherwood on Saturday. At least one person was killed Saturday as a strong storm system passed through the state.
Metro on 02/25/2018
Print Headline: State bombarded with rain, wind; Man, 83, dies after trailer blown into pond in Clay County