The Arkansas River at Toad Suck Lock and Dam was at 281.64 feet as of Tuesday afternoon. The major flood stage is 280 feet. The highest on record was 282.9 feet in May 1990.
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said the Arkansas River topped two levees in the state — the Perry County Levee District No. 1 near Toad Suck and the McLean Levee in Logan County — on Tuesday.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS) of Little Rock, the Arkansas River is expected to crest at 283.5 feet at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam later this week and cause historic flooding.
Because of massive releases of water upstream in Oklahoma and rain in the forecast in Arkansas, experts are predicting the Arkansas River will rise to never-before-seen levels and flow faster than ever as the water releases continue from upstream.
The city of Conway will post daily updates after Mayor Bart Castleberry meets with department heads and other officials. On Tuesday, the city set up a hotline for updates and questions at 501-328-4176.
“The phones will be manned during normal business hours,” spokesman Bobby M. Kelly III said. “The hours may be extended based on call volume.”
Castleberry will continue to meet with officials and said on Tuesday that the update offered some hope.
“We are encouraged by news that the projected crest has not increased, the timeframe has not been extended and the forecasted rainfall for Conway has decreased,” the mayor said, adding that he encouraged all residents to sign up to receive Code Red alerts from the Faulkner County Office of Emergency Management.
Residents can register at https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/EC5F9AD25742.
Forecasters say up to 4 inches of rain is possible this week in the waterlogged areas.
In preparation, the Red Cross has opened three shelters in the state, including the Don Owen Sports Complex in Conway. The other two are in Dardanelle and Fort Smith.
“Identification and/or proof of residency is not required to be admitted to a Red Cross shelter,” Red Cross spokesman Christina Fowler said.
She said those seeking shelter were encouraged to bring the following items with them:
• Clothing for a few days.
• Essential medication.
• A child’s stuffed animal, blanket or other items for children.
Fowler said that 12 people stayed overnight Monday in the Conway shelter. There is space to accommodate 300 people. Pets will be housed in a separate nearby facility.
The Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office said the following roads and areas were closed due to being considered impassable:
• Luker Lane (near Mayflower High School).
• Faulkner Meadows.
• Grassy Lakes.
• Easterwood Point/Tribal.
• Easterwood Point/Red Oak.
• Easterwood Point/ Lollie Road.
• Shaw Bridge.
• James Road/Treasure Hills.
“Faulkner County Deputies will be stationed in these areas at this time,” FCSO officials said Tuesday afternoon. “We will keep everyone updated as more information is available. Be safe. If you see barricades, turn around and find an alternate route.”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday declared Arkansas in a state of emergency and has been monitoring the situation.
After being briefed on the situation Sunday morning, the governor approved $100,000 in emergency funding to assist with support efforts.
“This morning, the Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and Arkansas State Police provided me with a detailed briefing about the state's ongoing support efforts in communities experiencing record flood levels along the Arkansas River," Gov. Hutchinson said on Sunday. "I have received a number of requests for aid from communities, and I immediately approved the release of $100,000 of emergency funds to support sandbagging work.
"I appreciate all the neighbors and volunteers filling sandbags and assisting with evacuations. The state team is continuing to respond to assistance requests, and more funds will be allocated as the situation demands.”