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story.lead_photo.caption Workers in Garland County clear away an oak tree that toppled Wednesday in the 800 block of Arkansas 128 near Millcreek Road in Fountain Lake. - Photo by Richard Rasmussen

HOT SPRINGS -- Heavy rain and wind Wednesday morning obstructed roads with trees and floodwaters and damaged homes north of Lake Ouachita, leading to about 1,400 power failures.

The Garland County Department of Emergency Management said downed trees were widespread, blocking roads countywide and falling on homes in the 2000 block of Rock Springs Road in the northwest part of the county.

"There was a lot of damage up there," Director Bo Robertson said. "There were several large trees down all up and down Rock Springs. On Rock Springs Lane, there was a tree on a vehicle."

Robertson said most of the damage occurred between 7 and 8 a.m.

"Looking at the damage, I believe it was straight-line winds," Robertson said, noting Entergy Arkansas Inc. and county road crews were working to clear trees and downed power lines. "We had a lot of rain come down in the county."

The National Weather Service's North Little Rock office said wind gusts of 30 mph were detected.

"With so much rain and the soil being saturated, it doesn't take a whole lot to knock over trees," meteorologist Heather Cross said. "The trees become top-heavy. It's times like these that you see a lot of downed trees."

Overnight and morning rainfall of 2.36 inches fell at Entergy's Big Mazarn Creek weather station near Sunshine Road, with 1.6 inches falling from 6 a.m. to noon. The Carpenter Dam weather station reported 1.13 inches from 6 a.m. to noon. Both are in Garland County.

Rain-swollen creeks rose quickly. Entergy's gauge at Little Mazarn Creek showed it had risen 6 feet by noon. Big Mazarn Creek had risen 2 feet over that time, and East Gulpha Creek had risen 3 feet.

First responders reported roads under water and blocked by trees. Robertson said a large tree blocked traffic on Arkansas 128 near Mill Creek Road. Downed trees on the west end of Marion Anderson Road near Deer View Circle subdivision and the 4000 block of Amity Road near South Harris Road also affected traffic.

The line of thunderstorms that moved through Wednesday morning caused several scattered power failures resulting in about 1,400 Garland County customers losing electricity, Jim Garland, Entergy's regional customer service manager, said.

"The largest outages occurred in the Amity Road area and the Fountain Lake area. A few of the outages this morning were caused by cars hydroplaning on wet roadways and hitting power poles," Garland said.

Garland estimated power would be restored to all the customers in the area by 6 p.m.

Cross said similar problems were reported in neighboring Montgomery County, and that a line of storms to the north caused damage in Johnson, Logan, Pope and Conway counties.

"That line came through from Oklahoma about 2 to 3 a.m.," she said. "A lot of damage was reported in the western part of the state. It weakened as it got to Faulkner, Pulaski and Saline counties."

Severe weather also brought flights to a halt and led to at least one rescue of people in a minivan in Northwest Arkansas.

Several fights were canceled Wednesday at Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport.

Roughly 60 miles southeast of the airport, officials in Madison County responded to a minivan that became trapped by floodwaters. Sheriff Rick Evans said two people and two pets were in the van when fire and sheriff officials responded around 7 a.m. along Arkansas 16 just west of St. Paul.

No one was injured, Evans said.

State Desk on 05/02/2019

Print Headline: Heavy rain, wind sock parts of state


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