Heavy rains caused flooding and closed down Interstate 30 more than two hours outside Little Rock on Thursday as storms moved through the region, leading to more than a half-dozen water rescues in Little Rock alone.
The Arkansas Department of Transportation closed both sides of I-30 near Vimy Ridge Road west of Interstate 430 around 9 a.m. Live video from the scene showed water over the lanes but some vehicles driving through it before officials reopened it more than two hours later.
Highway department spokesman Danny Straessle said water from a nearby creek overfilled and spilled onto the interstate, as well as its service roads.
“The water’s got to run its course,” Straessle said during the closure, adding: "We don't want it to consume more vehicles."
Engineers went to the flooded section to assess water levels as traffic significantly backed up morning rush hour traffic.
The National Weather Service said several inches of rain fell across parts of central Arkansas, with more to come before the storms clear out.
The weather service recorded 4.18 inches around 7 a.m. at Adams Field at Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, shattering a daily rainfall record for April 18 set in 1911 when 1.74 inches of rain fell.
Little Rock Fire Department Capt. Jacob Lear-Sadowsky said there had been "widespread flooding throughout the city."
He said firefighters responded to at least eight water rescues after drivers became trapped by high water levels. No one was injured during any of the rescues.
Authorities responded to a few vehicle crashes where people were injured. Lear-Sadowsky faulted rain and poor visibility as factors for several of the wrecks.
Officials issued several flood warnings and multiple schools canceled classes for the day amid worries about flooded roads.
Many of the flash flood warnings expired around 9 a.m., but with more rain on the way, officials cautioned travelers that slower flooding could happen with moderate rain continuing.
High water is covering part of Interstate 30 in central Arkansas, stalling traffic in both directions.
The Arkansas Department of Transportation said both sides of the highway were closed near Vimy Ridge Road west of Interstate 430. Live video from the scene showed water over the lanes but some vehicles driving through it.
The Arkansas Online live traffic map showed a significant backup in both directions at 9:15 a.m.
A flash flood warning is set for several counties in Arkansas, including the Little Rock metro area, as heavy rain continued to fall early Thursday.
Bryant Schools, the Pulaski County Special School District, Bauxite Public Schools, the Benton School District and the Sheridan School District canceled class for the day because of flooding.
The National Weather Service said up to 3 inches of rain has already fallen across parts of central Arkansas with more to come before the storms clear out. The warning continues through 8:45 a.m. for parts of Lonoke, Faulkner, Saline and Pulaski counties. A separate flash flood warning for parts of Woodruff, Prairie, Lonoke, Monroe and Arkansas counties extends through 8:30 a.m.
Some flooded roads were already being reported in Lonoke County, and "additional flooding is expected," the weather service said in a statement. In Pulaski County, Arkansas 100 was closed because of high water.
Bryant said it was canceling class for the day "due to flooding throughout the district." The Pulaski County district closed, but it said the district office would remain open.
Check back for updates.
Print Headline: I-30 reopened in central Arkansas after water poured across road, stalling traffic