Local officials assure Faulkner County residents that the Lollie Levee is still holding water and said emergency personnel continue monitoring the area. As flood waters continue rising, at least 20 roadways across the county have closed.
While the Lollie Levee shows to be holding flood waters, officials issued on Saturday evening a Code Red alert for those who live along the Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission notified area residents the reservoir was at an "enhanced risk" for flooding, according to the alert.
AGFC officials said water levels that exceed 3 feet above normal pool are considered a "flood event," and that "the greatest concern for flooding may begin as early as [June 4] and continue until the Arkansas River recedes below Major Flood elevation in Pool 7."
According to the Code Red alert issued Saturday, the Palarm Creek area is steadily rising as well. As the Palarm Creek also rises, its waters are spilling into Lake Conway.
"The extremely high water of the river has pushed water up Palarm Creek and back over the spillway at the Lake Conway dam," the alert reads in part. "However, Palarm Creek is steadily rising at the Lake Conway dam, and will continue to rise for the next several days, pushing more and more water into the lake."
Anyone in the area who has suffered from prior flooding events in the last 10 years is advised "to err on the side of caution."
AGFC spokesman Keith Stephens said in a press conference Saturday afternoon that Lake Conway waters at the time were at normal pool, "but it is rising [and] water is coming over the dam, coming back int he Arkansas River."
Officials were able to lower the lake about 1 foot before the water had risen up to the dam, "and that's helped somewhat," he said.
While everything seems to be OK in the area for now, Stephens said he wants residents to be alert.
"Don’t be complacent. It’s going to get worse. We expect the water to come in and the areas that have flooded in the past will probably flood again and maybe other areas, we’re kind of in the uncharted territory because we’ve never seen anything like this," Stephen said. "We’ve got some weather forecasts that call for 3-4 inches of rain next week so that could just be catastrophic if we’ve got water coming in from all the watersheds and the river at the same time. Right now, we don’t have any floods out there [on the lake] But it’s slowly coming up."
Lake Atkins in Pope County is also at an increased potential risk for flooding, according to the AGFC.
Anyone with questions regarding Lake Conway should call The AGFC's Fisheries Office in Mayflower at 501-470-3309.
Regarding the Lollie Levee, Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry said everything is fine for the time being.
Castleberry said he received a call around 10 p.m. Friday night where someone claimed "the conditions at the Lollie Levee were deteriorating."
County officials also were alerted of the possible breach. However, emergency personnel in the area as well as those who responded to Lollie Road immediately discredited the call.
"We did exactly as were planning on doing, we responded with our folks — the police and fire [departments] and our Faulkner County [Office of Emergency Management]," Castleberry said. "We met with our folks we already had down there and quickly determined this information was false."
The Arkansas River at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam is still expected to crest Monday at 286 feet. Because officials are monitoring the Lollie Levee around the clock, Castleberry said residents should not worry about the levee breaching.
While this historic flooding event "is a very serious situation," the levee is holding as it should, he said.
"The levee is doing exactly as it supposed to be doing at this time. There is some water seepage, which is normal. What you need to know about water seepage on the levee is that the water is clear. As long as there’s no debris in it, this is considered a normal part of what’s going on out there," Castleberry said. "This is a historic flood. We don’t really know what to expect but we are monitoring it."
County Judge Jim Baker warned residents to be cautious of flooded roadways across the county.
"Folks, this is the biggest flood we’ve ever seen. It will rival the ’27 flood none of us remember," he said. "I advise all of you to take precautions in low-lying areas, especially along the Cadron Watershed and around Lake Conway."
As of Saturday afternoon, at least 20 roadways were shut down across the county.
"We are doing everything we can to move forward and keep folks safe, but this is Mother Nature in control. We’ve got a lot of partners — the Corps right now is the one we look to and they’ve been accurate so far," Baker said adding that anyone who feels they are in danger should relocate until the waters recede.
A Red Cross emergency shelter is available for those affected by the rising flood waters.
The shelter is set up at the Don Owen Sports Center in Conway and can house 300.
Those who seek shelter via the red cross are asked to bring with them clothing, bedding, toiletries, medications and children’s toys. Meals are served three times a day to those in need at the shelters.
Those wishing to make a $10 donation during the historic flooding event can text REDCROSS to 90999. Those wishing to volunteer with the Red Cross can contact organizers at www.redcross.org.
There is also an emergency animal shelter near the Red cross shelter. This is the first time a shelter has been established for animals in the county. The emergency shelter is headed by the Faulkner County Animal Response Team and stationed at the Faulkner County Rodeo Arena at 10 Lower Ridge Road in Conway.
There also are 46 available RV plots at the Conway Expo and Event Center for people who need a place to stay in their RVs.
City officials said electricity and water will be provided at the center at no cost.
To reserve a spot, call 501-327-2532 or send an email to either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conway Department of Sanitation Administrative Assistant Mandy Cates said the landfill, customer convenience area and yard waste facility is still closed because of flooding in the city.