Flash Flooding Expected in Southern Arkansas and North Louisiana


Several flash flood warnings were issued for parts of Arkansas and Louisiana on Wednesday morning, following days of destructive flooding across the Northeast.

The National Weather Service office in Shreveport, La., said the radar indicated thunderstorms producing heavy rain could impact Columbia, Hempstead, Lafayette and Nevada counties in southwestern Arkansas and Claiborne Parish in northwestern Louisiana, labeling the forecast as “particularly dangerous.”

Between eight and 10 inches of rain had fallen as of Wednesday morning, the agency said, with additional rainfall amounts of one to two inches possible in some of the affected areas.

“This is a life-threatening situation,” the service warned on social media. Around 5,000 people could be impacted, it said.

Shane Pendleton, a meteorologist for the Weather Service in Shreveport, said the agency has received “numerous reports of creeks and small streams swelling and causing blockages of road resulting in vehicles being swept off roadways” and “requiring water rescue” in the region.

“Never under any circumstances attempt to drive through water over the roadway,” Mr. Pendleton said. It takes only about six inches of moving water to knock an adult person off their feet, he said, and around 18 inches to sweep a medium-size vehicle off the road.

“It can be very difficult at a glance to determine the depth of the water,” Mr. Pendelton said, adding “what looks like just a puddle can have the power to sweep your vehicle off the road.”

The warnings for Arkansas and Louisiana come in the days after the governor of Vermont said flooding there was “historic and catastrophic” and storms in New York killed a 43-year-old woman.

Increasingly, experts say, heavy rainfall can cause destruction even miles from any river or waterway. Rising temperatures nationwide are exacerbating flooding: They allow the air to hold more moisture, leading to more intense and sudden rainfall, seemingly out of nowhere.

Forecasters said some cities that could experience flash flooding in Arkansas and Louisiana included Magnolia, Hope, Stamps, Waldo, Lewisville, McNeil, Buckner, Perrytown, Rosston, Willisville, Bodcaw, Mount Vernon, Patmos, Falcon, Sutton, Lamartine, Piney Grove, Mount Moriah, Waterloo and College Hill.

Mr. Pendleton said that while rainfall rates in the region are expected to decrease in intensity, southern Arkansas and north central Louisiana are “still contending” with large areas of rainfall, and the already heavily saturated ground poses ongoing risks.





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