Arkansas River Flooding

Jami Cook
Daniel Breen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Levee Task Force formally presented its report to Gov. Asa Hutchinson Tuesday with 17 recommendations, including tying state grants to participation by local levee districts in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Rehabilitation and Inspection Program.

Future legislative actions will be determined over the next year before the next General Assembly meets in 2021, Hutchinson said in a press conference.


Those impacted by the flooding in Arkansas have just a few weeks left to apply for financial help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Tiana Suber, a spokesperson for FEMA, says the deadline to register for disaster relief assistance is August 7.

"If you suffered from damages from the flooding in May, we do ask that – if you are underinsured or uninsured – that you will come down to one of our disaster recovery centers," Suber said.

Governor's Office / You Tube

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has ordered a review of the state's levees and is asking lawmakers to approve $10 million for immediate repairs after historic flooding along the Arkansas River.

On Thursday Hutchinson signed an executive order to create the Arkansas Levee Task Force to study and analyze the condition of the state's levees. Hutchinson said the panel will have about 20 members and will make recommendations to him by December 31 on ways to improve monitoring and maintenance of the state's levee system.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Organizations dedicated to reducing food insecurity in Arkansas have a new partner. Telecommunications company AT&T announced its Believe Arkansas initiative Monday at the state Capitol.

The program includes a donation of $100,000 split among various hunger relief groups across the state. According to a 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Arkansas ranks second worst in the nation when it comes to food insecurity. The president of the AT&T's Arkansas operations, Ronnie Dedman said that is one reason the company chose to focus on that issue.

American Red Cross flooding shelter
Christina Fowler / American Red Cross

With the Arkansas River back below flood stage, the American Red Cross is refocusing its efforts to help victims of the massive flood. Spokeswoman Christina Fowler says the group is closing its final shelter in the state, which is in North Little Rock, on Wednesday at 9 a.m. Two others, located in Fort Smith and Conway, shut down over the weekend. She says that although the shelters are closing their doors, the group will continue working to help.

Flood Toad Suck Arkansas River
KATV-Channel 7

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says four more counties in Arkansas have been approved for disaster assistance as a result of damage from storms and flooding that began May 21.

Heavy rains produced record flooding in the state, especially along the Arkansas River.

FEMA announced that Arkansas, Desha, Logan and Pope counties have been added to a list of eight counties previously approved for federal assistance. The other counties are Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian and Yell counties.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

While the Arkansas River has crested and continues to fall, steady barge traffic along the river will not be observed for at least six more weeks. Bryan Day executive director of the Little Rock Port Authority said the stopping of barges was due to river speed more than height.

“How fast, what the volume is…will impact the ability to safely move commodities up and down the Arkansas River,” Day said. The increase in rain and eventual flooding impacted transportation in other areas besides Arkansas.

Jefferson County Judge Gerald Robinson

Forced to close businesses and evacuate homes after already-significant flood damage, residents of Jefferson County are bracing themselves for the cresting of the Arkansas River. The National Weather Service forecasts the water level to reach a near record-breaking 51 feet in Pine Bluff Thursday night, marking the river’s highest crest since 1943.

Arkansas River flooding
Wes Goodner

Officials with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and several counties across Arkansas are continuing to deal with challenges brought by the flooding of the Arkansas River. On Wednesday the river seemed to be cresting in Little Rock at a height of 29.7 feet. Melody Daniel, a spokeswoman with the ADEM, says more rain forecast in central Arkansas could extend the length of time the river crests, but it’s not expected to go higher.

Picture of a tractor on a farm
Creative Commons

While a rainy spring and summer as well as flooding along the Arkansas River has impacted farmers, it has also affected agricultural research in the state. The Agricultural Experiment Station, a part of the The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research and Extension, has several research stations located across the state. 

Jennifer Goss / KUAR

About 40 segments of highways in the state have been shut down as a result of flooding along the Arkansas River. As the river crest in areas of central Arkansas, that number is expected to rise. Danny Straessle, a spokesman with the Arkansas Department of Transportation, says the areas being flooded are not the “usual suspects” the department prepares for during a flash flood. 

Sarah Kellogg - KUAR News / KUAR

Arkansas is receiving an additional $250,000 in emergency funding for flood relief in the state. Gov. Asa Hutchinson made the announcement Wednesday during a news conference at the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) at Camp Robinson. This funding comes after Hutchinson announced $100,000 in funding earlier in the week. Hutchinson said this increase came at the request of ADEM. During the conference, Hutchinson spoke on an earlier conversation with President Donald Trump about the flooding.