An evacuation recommendation was issued Saturday morning to residents in the Dixie Addition of North Little Rock, saying water levels are expected to rise in the area and remain at flood levels for "many days or even weeks."
City officials went door to door in the area near East Ninth and North C streets telling residents they should leave and seek shelter elsewhere.
The Arkansas River is expected to crest Tuesday in Little Rock, and 3-4 inches of rain is forecast for the area over the next seven days, according to meteorologist Lance Pyle with the National Weather Service in North Little Rock.
In addition, 5-7 inches of rain is expected in Oklahoma and southern Kansas, which will make its way into the Arkansas River basin.
"The rainfall totals may not affect the river crest levels, but they will likely prolong the flooding," Pyle said.
North Little Rock officials said they believe the river will back up storm drainage areas, causing roads to become inaccessible in and around the Dixie Addition, possibly for more than a week.
About 150 homes are covered by the evacuation recommendation, city spokesman Nathan Hamilton said. Other homes also could be affected, he said, but officials were focusing on the most pressing neighborhood Saturday.
The notice to residents said the city could not guarantee that electric, water or wastewater services would be unaffected, and that emergency services may face delays in reaching residents once the water level rises.Gallery: Pulaski and Yell County Flooding
An emergency shelter has been opened at the North Little Rock Community Center, at 2700 Willow St., for residents who need a place to stay. Barbara Hager with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said the shelter is Red Cross-approved and Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.
Hiawatha and Carolyn Lewis looked Saturday around the home where they have lived for 59 years.
"We're packing up," Hiawatha Lewis said. "They just said this whole neighborhood will be flooded."
He said the neighborhood has flooded previously, but the water has never reached their home.
"This one block was considered the safe zone," he said. "It's a little higher than the rest. The last time was 1990. It came up but never touched the foundation of our house."
Streets in the area were dotted with sandbags Saturday, blocking storm drain openings, manhole covers and pretty much anywhere that water could back up into the street.
Sandbags for public use are available at four locations in North Little Rock: 6000 White Oak Drive, 3200 Gribble St., 3550 Sam Evans Drive and 16000 Willow Beach Road.
Hager said numerous streets were closed around North Little Rock, mostly in areas along the river.
The evacuation recommendation Saturday morning followed a false alarm overnight that said a nearby levee had breached and prompted a National Weather Service flash-flood warning. The warning was canceled a short time later after it was determined that a containment berm had been breached, not the levee itself, and that water was flowing into a petroleum storage containment area.
On Friday, just before 10:30 p.m., a police officer knocked on Tanya King's door and said the levee near her Cheryl Street home had burst. Though it proved to be a false alarm, King said rushing to pack a bag for herself and her son made her more aware of what could happen.
"I was so scared," King said Saturday. "I went and woke up my mom, and we couldn't get a hold of my neighbor. It was just really scary. I mean, it didn't happen last night, but the water's so high. It could happen any day."
King worked for more than 12 hours last week to sandbag her home, her mother's house and her cousin's residence, all nestled closely on Cheryl Street. She said she's lived there for more than 44 years.
"In the '90s, our house flooded, and we camped in a friend's yard up the street to keep an eye on things," she said. "The [officers] told us if we flooded in the '90s, we'd probably flood again. We have a bag packed just in case we need to move."
North Little Rock Street Department employees Jason Steele and Charlie Harris were working Saturday morning to get a pump unit operating to pump water out of a neighborhood in the 200 block of Crockett Street near Gribble Street.
The area began to flood several days ago after water from the river backed up through the storm drains. Pumps were installed to divert water back into the river, Hamilton said.
"Gribble is a bowl," he said. "Any drainage issues that happen collect right there. It is a 'usual suspects' for us in terms of drainage. The houses there, we've offered to buy them, but some people just don't want to sell. They get flooded every time there's a big storm."
Harris said employees have been working 14-hour days to keep the flooding in check, but every time they get a situation under control, another one crops up somewhere else.
"Every time we think we'll get ahead, they throw a curve ball at us," he said.
Hamilton said all North Little Rock employees have been placed on emergency Level 2 status.
"That's not an all-hands-on-deck situation, but everyone is subject to be on call," he said. "Some departments, like the street department and emergency services, are putting extra people out there as well."
Farther upriver, at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge on River Road, North Little Rock Police Chief Mike Davis and Capt. Jay Kovach surveyed the lodge, which was sitting in about 5 feet of water.
"We sandbagged around it, but, as you can see, that didn't do a whole lot of good," Davis said. "It's got about another foot to go, too."
Kovach said flooding was already worse than in 1990.
"And we've got more coming," he said.
Across the river, Little Rock Police Lt. Michael Ford said no evacuations had been ordered and no homes were in immediate danger of taking on water as of Saturday evening.
"We are telling people to stay away from the riverfront area," he said. "Of course, we've got that flooding down there, but Little Rock sits a little higher than North Little Rock so we aren't seeing the problems they are."
Ford said the Junction Bridge, the pedestrian bridge at the Clinton Presidential Center and the Big Dam Bridge are all closed until the flooding abates. Rebsamen Park Road is closed from the traffic circle at Riverfront Drive to the Big Dam Bridge.
Sandbags are available at War Memorial Park and at the Public Works Department on J.E. Davis Drive for use by Little Rock residents.
Pulaski County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Cody Burk said deputies are manning closed roads 24 hours a day in flooded or at-risk areas of the county and keeping an eye on two levees that might not withstand the coming water.
Burk said Tracks and Settlement roads, north of Maumelle, are closed, along with Isbell Road, County Farm Road, Beck Road, and Pinnacle Valley Road on the south side of the river. The 15800 area of Frazier Pike is flooded and barricaded, he said.
Houses near Isbell Road are almost completely submerged, Burk said, and deputies have had to move their barricades farther up the street to stay away from the water.
Burk said the sheriff's office is also concerned about the Old River Road Levee on John Branch Road and the Woodson Levee near Wrightsville and has advised residents near those levees that they need to either evacuate or have an evacuation plan ready for an emergency.
Information for this article was contributed by Clara Turnage of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Floodwaters surround homes along the Arkansas River and inundates public garden plots Friday near Two Rivers Park in western Pulaski County. More photos are available at arkansasonline.com/62flood/
Barry Jefferson, a member of the Pulaski County Quorum Court, helps fill sandbags Saturday in the Dixie Addition neighborhood of North Little Rock, where residents were advised by city officials to evacuate.
At right, family members and volunteers put sandbags around a house in the 12000 block of Willow Beach Road in North Little Rock.
A Section on 06/02/2019
Print Headline: Time to go, police advise residents in part of North Little Rock