LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Heavy rain fell from far southern Arkansas to the Missouri state line, stranding people in their homes while strong winds damaged buildings and toppled trees and utility lines.
The rain was forecast to slacken Friday, but the National Weather Service cautioned that the ground was so saturated that even a modest amount of additional rain could cause flash flooding.
In Union County, near the Louisiana state line, structures were damaged near Lisbon on Arkansas 172, where county crews worked with chain saws to clear trees from the road.
In Harrison, Lori Hudson blamed a change in drainage patterns for an ankle-high flood in her home.
"I've got a river running through my house," Hudson said.
In Pine Bluff, part of the roof of a Walmart store blew off during storms Thursday night. Among the damage at the First Assembly of God Church, the steeple was bent over by the strong winds.
"The steeple almost looked like a witch's hat," Pine Bluff police spokesman Lt. Bob Rawlinson said.
Two schools were closed Friday in Columbia County, and many county roads were impassable.
Mike McNeill, editor of the Banner-News daily newspaper in Magnolia, said Friday morning that 8.76 inches of rain had been recorded at the newspaper's office since 8 a.m. Thursday.
Radio station KVSA in McGehee reported that a storm that hit around 3:30 a.m. Friday damaged homes and caused power outages, but no injuries were reported.
Entergy Arkansas reported thousands of power outages statewide Friday morning, with more than 2,200 in the Pine Bluff area, about 1,300 in the Magnolia area and about 1,100 in the El Dorado area.
The weather service reported that trees were felled by wind at Y City and Waldron in Scott County, and Mena city streets were flooded in Polk County. City streets were flooded and trees and power lines downed at Clarksville, the agency said, and Arkansas 10 was covered with water between Booneville and Magazine in Logan County.
In central Arkansas, flooding was reported at Jacksonville, and the Cabot Fire Department helped residents of two flooded subdivisions get out of their homes, according to the weather service. On U.S. 67-167, a major commuter route northeast of Little Rock, traffic was pared to one lane in each direction as water pooled in a low spot along the roadway.