The storm system that the National Weather Service expects to cause widespread flooding has reached into Arkansas, where it is expected to linger today.
By press time Thursday, one rain-laden storm cloud had passed just east of Conway, according to National Weather Service radar, and another passing over Conway seemed to have dropped most of its rain near the Arkansas River, according to City Engineer Ronnie Hall. The only county road known to be flooded and closed at 8 p.m. was Bayou Road just north of Holland, but a line of rain was stretching from the southwest corner of Arkansas to Houston, Texas, and looked to be headed toward the center of Arkansas.
An alert from NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist John Robinson released Thursday afternoon warned of "an approaching weather system ... producing damaging winds and a few tornadoes."
This alert turned out to be apt, with a tornado striking Camden at about 4 p.m. Thursday and badly damaging the Arkansas Fire Academy there. According to a Conway fireman at the academy, no one there was hurt.
An unusually rainy Fall has resulted in saturated ground, which gives the rainwater nowhere to go according to NWS forecasters. In the alert issued Thursday afternoon, Robinson warned that "with the ground as saturated as it is, it will not be difficult for thunderstorms winds to blow trees down."
According to Hall, the following roads in Conway are prone to flooding:
• Hogan Lane at the Tucker Creek crossing near the Dave Ward Drive Walmart;
• College Avenue near the McGee Center;
• Tyler Street near the Western part of Centennial Valley;
• East German Lane near Middle Road;
• Graham Drive in the Victoria Park subdivison;
• Sugar Creek Drive in the Sugar Creek subdivision and near the Katherine Place subdivision;
• Columbia Drive and Royal Drive in the Royal Oaks subdivision;
• Oak Street between Chestnut and Court streets;
• The intersection of Main and Chestnut streets;
• Court Street between Main and Oak streets;
• and Parkway over near the Conway Corp. downtown facility.
According to Faulkner County Road Foreman Glenn Willhite, the following roads in Faulkner County are prone to flooding:
• Bayou Road north of Holland and Ridge Road near Holland
• Shaw Bridge Road west of Wooster;
• Mallet Town Road west of Highway 285 North;
• Springfield Road several miles west of Greenbrier;
• Wilson Bottoms Road east of Greenbrier;
• James Road in the Treasure Hills subdivision;
• Mortar Creek Road near Enders;
• Lollie Road in the Lollie Bottoms;
• Highway 36 near Naylor;
• Bull Creek Road between Bristol Road and Bull Mountain Road;
• Buffalo Mountain Road south of Quitman;
• Otto Road east of Highway 286;
• Muddy Bayou Road north of Bull Creek Road;
• and Grassy Lake Road at its Interstate 40 underpass.
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management warns motorists to "turn around; don’t drown" when encountering flooded roads, and offers the following information:
• Twelve inches of water will float many vehicles;
• Two feet of rushing water will carry away most vehicles, including pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles;
• Water across a road may hide a missing segment of roadbed or a missing bridge.
• Because disaster can strike at any time, ADEM encourages everyone to have a disaster supply kit in their home and vehicle;
• When there’s water on the road: Turn Around, Don’t Drown. Saving your life is as simple as choosing an alternate route. If you are driving and your vehicle stalls in flood water, the best advice is to get out quickly and move to higher ground;
• And proceed cautiously after waters have receded, since the road may collapse under the weight of the vehicle.
(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)