Flood waters in the Arkansas River are beginning to recede. However, waters continue rising in Lake Conway.
One Paradise Landing resident took the Log Cabin Democrat and County Attorney David Hogue on a tour of the devastation Thursday afternoon.
Many neighborhoods were flooded, backyards had become a part of the lake and some homes were clearly ruined.
"This is just a mess," resident Terry Fowler said."
Fowler has lived along Lake Conway for 17 years. Flooding is nothing new to him, given the area he lives in, he said. However, the Mayflower resident said he has never witnessed the waters of Lake Conway rise to what they are today.
"It's typically about 3-foot deep right here," he said on his fishing boat while wafting through a cluster of lily pads. Fowler stopped at one point and measured the flood waters, learning that levels that normally would reach 3-feet were currently 6-feet and nearly 7-inches deep.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission announced Thursday that the lake's water level "has started to slow slightly."
Residents along the lake remain under a flood warning. As of Thursday, the water level had reached close to 267.5 feet mean sea level, which is 4.5 feet above normal pool, according to AGFC officials.
Officials have said that anyone living along the lake who has been affected by flooding over the last 10 years should take the flood warning seriously and be prepared.
“Those living in close proximity to Lake Conway should take immediate action to protect themselves and property from flood damage,” AGFC spokesman Keith Stephens said.
As rainfall heads into the county in the coming days, officials believe the Lake Conway area may be “drastically” affected because they are unable to drain runoff due to the flooding downstream.
Since residents and other volunteers began prepping for the Arkansas River flood’s impact in Faulkner County, they have worked to fill more than 200,000 sandbags.
Sandbag fortresses have protected many homes, while efforts at others were not enough.
The Log Cabin visited a few homes along Trails End on Tuesday. At the time, residents were able to place plastic sheets and sandbags around their homes to protect their property from the imminent flood waters. On Thursday, the residents' backyards were completely flooded.
Fowler said this flooding event has affected many along the lake. Some may never return to their destroyed homes, he said.
"This is the highest I've ever seen [the lake]," he said. "I hate it for the people who live out here."
Hogue said he and other officials were unsure of just how much damages the Arkansas River Flood has caused. Until the waters recede completely, a full assessment of the area cannot be completed.
While local officials are out monitoring water levels daily, they do not know when Lake Conway will stop rising. With rainfall still in the forecast, the lake likely will continue rising through the weekend.
The lake began experiencing flooding when Palarm Creek began pushing water into it following the Arkansas River flood.
The American Red Cross began providing disaster relief for those affected by the Arkansas River flood last week.
Officials said that as flood waters recede in some areas, the needs for relief continue to grow in others.
Greater Arkansas Chapter Executive Director Lori Arnold said the Red Cross will work to find resources to help those affected during this flooding event.
“As river levels fall and residents affected by the flooding begin the process of returning home, we will continue to be here for our local communities,” she said. “The Red Cross will continue to work with partners and do everything we can to connect people with the resources they need for recovery.”
While one Red-Cross operated shelter closed Thursday, four remain open across the state.
Shelters that remain open are located at the Evangel Temple in Fort Smith, the Don Owen Sports Center in Conway, the North Little Rock Community Center in North Little Rock and the Southeast Arkansas College-Seabrook in Pine Bluff.
There are also Red Cross-supported shelters available at the Dyer Community Building in Dyer, the Swan Lake Fire Station in Altheimer and at the Wright/Pastoria Community Center in Wright. An independent shelter is also available to those in need at the First Baptist Church in Lavaca.
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.
On Wednesday, 160 Arkansans sought shelter with the Red Cross because of flooding.
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.
More than 20 roadways across the county have closed either due to high waters or as a safety measure to keep traffic out of the area while emergency personnel monitor flood levels. Current road closures include:Caney Creek Road at the Amity Road intersection in Conway. Thomas Lane at the Caney Creek Road intersection. Dam Road. The eastern portion of Lakeview Circle. Waterfront Cove at Aldridge Lane. Highway 89 South from Lake Forest drive to Shoreline Drive. Caney Lane in the Cadron Township. Interstate Drive near Grassy Lake Road in Mayflower. Springfield Road in Wooster. Highway 89 from Jerrell Lane to Easterwood Point Road. Highway 365 at the Pulaski/Faulkner county line. Highway 89 from the Mayflower Cemetery near Capps Road to Dawn Drive. Lollie Road from Donnel Ridge Road to Easterwood Point Road. Winter Creek Drive in Mayflower. Christy Lane in Mayflower. Charlotte Drive in Mayflower. Hensley Lane in Holland. Burgess Lane in Wooster. Bayou Road in Holland. Highway 25 from West Cadron Ridge Road to Beaverfork Road. Highway 25 near Patton Mini Storage. Glover Road in the Hardin Township. Highway 60 at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam. Woodward Road in Mayflower. Luker Lane in Mayflower. Jones Lane in Mayflower. Easterwood Point Road. James Road off Highway 65. Grassy Lake Road in the Danley Township. Shawbridge Road in Wooster. Red Oak Drive in Mayflower. Sandy Gap Road in the Benedict Township. Faulkner Meadows Road in Mayflower.
The city of Conway has RV plots available at the Conway Expo and Event Center for those who need a place to stay in their RVs during the flooding incident.
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.
The Lollie Levee remains under constant surveillance through this flooding event. On Thursday afternoon, Conway spokesman Bobby M. Kelly III said the levee was holding up just fine after help from other agencies to plug an eroded area.
However, later on Thursday night, officials announced those living in the Lollie Bottoms area would need to evacuate because the levee is now expected to breach soon.