Flooding in Faulkner County is expected to continue as rain continues to fall over the next few days.
Matt Horton with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said forecasts "are calling for another 2-4 inches of rain by Saturday evening."
Lake Conway's water level had reached 265.1 feet as of Thursday evening, which is 3.1 feet above winter pool, he said. While water levels dropped as the rains subsided, he said they will likely begin to rise again as rain continues to fall in the area, noting some homes in low-lying areas could experience flooding when the water level reaches 266 feet.
The National Weather Service of Little Rock previously predicted Faulkner County would see at least 7 inches of rainfall. Horton said Lake Conway had already seen more than 6 inches since severe weather hit the area Tuesday.
"So far, about 6.3 inches of rain has fallen in Lake Conway's watershed since the rain began late Tuesday night," Horton said Thursday morning. "After the rain subsided [Wednesday] night, the rise in the lake's water level slowed significantly. All tributaries that feed into the lake have receded some, but there is still a lot of water running into the lake. This temporary break in the rain has helped, but more rain is predicted for our area starting [Thursday] afternoon and continuing through Saturday, with the heaviest rain expected late [Thursday] and Saturday."
Because water levels did not drop throughout the day Thursday, Horton said that "any rain we get now will cause the lake to rise."
In correlation to Lake Conway's rising water levels, all main tributaries, including the Palarm Creek Access, that feed into Lake Conway have also reached high levels.
Horton said that the Arkansas River is projected to rise another 8 feet and crest at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam on Thursday, "meaning there will be enough rise to back up Palarm Creek and slow discharges from Lake Conway later this week."
Current conditions, he said, show a high probability of residential flooding in areas surrounding Lake Conway on Thursday night as well as on Saturday.
"I strongly encourage anyone who has a home adjacent to Lake Conway, especially those who have experienced flooding sometime within the past 10 years, to start making preparations to protect your personal property from flood water if you haven't done so already," Horton said.
Faulkner County Office of Emergency Management Director Sheila Bellott said county residents are welcome to pick up sandbags between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the OEM, which is located at 57 Acklin Gap Road.
"If you live in a flood-prone area and you know that there's the potential for any flash flooding from the lake, sand bags are good," she said.
Sand bags are provided to residents in an effort to protect their homes from flood waters. Bellott said OEM staff cannot provide enough bags to provide a retainer wall, but will provide sandbags to cover any openings to residents' homes, including front and back doors along with garage door openings.
The National Weather Service of Little Rock has issued a flood watch across Faulkner County that remains in effect until midnight Sunday.
County Road Foreman Mark Ledbetter said officials caution residents to be careful when out driving in the heavy rains.
"A lot of water is going to come in," he said, noting officials may not have time to set up barricades in flooded areas by the time motorists reach the rising waters. "Be sure to watch for high water, because it comes in fast and subsides fast."
He said that while officials have only documented minor damages to county roads, some streets — Springfield Road, Mallet Town Road, Bayou Road, Ridge Drive and Mitchell Road — remained underwater as of press time Thursday and therefore could not be inspected for damages.
"Use extra caution if you have to get out during these heavy rains," Ledbetter said.