November 04, 2009 Edition

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Rainfall causes flooding



This pier at Lake Charles State Park is one of many locations in the county that experienced flooding following heavy rains last week. Many roads were closed, and fields were flooded yet again as Lawrence County received several inches of rain.
Submitted Photo ~ Debbie Richey
Vivian Heyl
Staff Writer

The heavy rains that fell last week brought flooding to the lowlands around Black River over the weekend and the river is still 10 feet above flood level at Black Rock.

Mayor Bud McLaughlin said that two homes had to be vacated due to flooding and that there was some flooding on West Main in Black Rock.

Highway 25 between Black Rock and Powhatan was closed due to flooding but has reopened.

Steve Jones, Lawrence County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator, said that Highways115 and 117 were closed around Jessup, but that Highway 63 was not closed due to flooding.

"Highway 63 was closed for a short period because of a motor vehicle accident but was reopened in less than a half an hour," Jones said.

County roads took a lot of damage from the rain according to county officials.

Lawrence County Judge Alex Latham issued a proclamation on Monday declaring Lawrence County a disaster area and has requested the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management to provide aid relief and assistance to the county.

"There are still many rural roads covered by water," Latham said. "We received between five and six inches of rain which led to a lot of road damage." Latham said it was still too early to give a cost for repairs, but if he had to estimate it would be in the $100,000 area.

"I'm just thankful it's not worse than it is," he said. "We haven't seen the same amount of damage we saw in the last flood."

Flooding has also occurred along the Strawberry and Cache rivers. Thousands of acres of cropland are under water, which will impact farming operations along the rivers.

Areas of Powhatan, which lie in the floodplain were also underwater.

On Tuesday Black River was still at 24.2 feet and is predicted to drop to 22.4 feet by Sunday.

The National Weather Service forecasts a dry, sunny week ahead with no chance of rain until Monday. Highs are also predicted to reach into the 60s, which will help reduce the amount of moisture in the ground.

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