By the time Hurricane Isaac makes its way to Arkansas, it will be classified as a tropical depression, but that doesn’t mean Conway residents can breathe easy.
The Conway Fire Department is working ahead to make sure those concerned with possible flooding in the area will have a chance to be prepared. With some weather models placing the bulk of the storm over Central Arkansas later in the week, Conway Fire Chief Bart Castleberry said the extra time will help the department get ready for the worst, in case the worst happens.
"The good news is that we have plenty of time to prepare," Castleberry said. "Right now it’s just too early to tell if there will be something definite in our area, but we are taking our cues on the chance that we will get something."
John Robinson, the warning coordinator meteorologist for the state, has indicated that strong weather could hit the Southern and Central part of Arkansas, but there are chances the main part of the storm could shift east or west.
According to Robinson, the areas within the eye of the storm and everything east of it will receive massive amounts of rain. Everything to the west of the eye will get much less precipitation. Castleberry said there is a definite break between the two areas, and it will remain on whether the eye moves to the west before Conway can expect heavy rains and winds.
"There is a chance that we get nothing," Castleberry said. "But we follow John’s lead. He is very forward thinking, and he is always giving us up to date forecasts."
Outside of the eye, rains will affect areas as much as 300 miles away.
In addition to flooding, Conway may have to prepare for downed trees. Because of the drought, Robinson warned that many trees have been weakened and could be suspect to break from strong winds and rain.
People in the gulf region are evacuating, and some are pointing to the path of Isaac as following that of Hurricane Katrina, the storm that decimated New Orleans in 2007.
The department will meet with the Conway Downtown Partnership Wednesday morning to discuss the possibility of major flooding in downtown Conway.
Castleberry said sandbags will be available for anyone who needs them. They will be at the Central Fire Station at 1201 Caldwell St. Older residents or those who are physically unable to pick up their sandbags can contact the department at 450-6150.