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Beryl expected to bring heavy rainfall to Arkansas

A map shows
National Weather Service Little Rock
A map shows parts of Arkansas expected to be under flood watches as the remnants of Hurricane Beryl move through the state.

Parts of Arkansas could see some flash flooding and tornadic activity resulting from the remnants of Hurricane Beryl, which made landfall near Houston Monday as a Category 1 storm.

The National Weather Service says a wide swath of the state, stretching roughly from De Queen to Harrison, could see as many as four to six inches of rain resulting from the storm. Forecasters say the greatest tornado threat is expected Monday afternoon and evening as the center of the storm moves into southwest Arkansas early Tuesday morning.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Dan Koch says, while flooding is expected, the speed of the storm will help to mitigate some of the rainfall totals.

“That’s always one of our biggest concerns is when we have a landfalling tropical system, typically coming out of Texas or Louisiana, they’ll come up here and move rather slowly and sometimes dump six to ten inches of rainfall,” he said. “In this particular case it’s moving very quickly, and so that’s why we’re looking more in the four-to-six-inch range for the heaviest rainfall.”

Koch says the storm’s track could still shift eastward more toward the Little Rock area as time goes on. While heavy rainfall is the primary concern, Koch says tornadoes could still crop up as Beryl moves inland toward Arkansas.

“Those types of tornadoes tend to be shorter-lived and on the weaker side. Occasionally we can get some that are a little bit stronger. It makes it really difficult for weather forecasters when we’re looking at radar, they’re very difficult to identify. Sometimes they only last for five minutes.”

Beryl is expected to downgrade into a tropical depression as it nears Arkansas, entering the southwest part of the state by early Tuesday morning. Koch urges drivers to take caution and leave a little early to ensure they’re not delayed by the storm.

“It can cause flooded roadways, we could see some rivers become flooded. [It’s] always a concern with heavy rainfall, driving on highways and interstates, reducing the visibility,” Koch said.

A flood watch is expected to be issued for the Little Rock area, lasting from 7 p.m. Monday until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Daniel Breen is News Director of Little Rock Public Radio.