August 24, 2016 Edition

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A vehicle drives through the flooded Free Street heading toward Walnut Ridge School Friday morning. After days of rain, a heavy storm hit early that morning causing flooding in Lawrence County. Emergency personnel were sent out for traffic control as many roads were under water.
TD Photo ~ Megan Heyl

Rains flood, saturate county

Gretchen Hunt

Lawrence County has experienced an extremely wet August, and already saturated grounds led to flash flooding on Friday.

Lloyd Clark of Powhatan reported he has received nearly 20 inches of rain at his home this month, seven inches of which fell Thursday night and Friday morning.

The Walnut Ridge and Hoxie area saw extensive flooding from that storm system, with many yards and roads under water. On Friday morning one lane of a portion of West Main Street in Walnut Ridge had to be closed because it was under water.

Peggy Miles, Lawrence County 911 director, said the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department still had Highway 230 from Highway 91 into Craighead County closed as of Tuesday.

She said the county road department was also reporting several county roads as still being impassible. The rains caused washouts in parts of western Lawrence County, and in the eastern part of the county many roads are simply still under water.

"Be cautious," Miles said. "If there is water on the roadway, don't try to cross it."

Rivers are also out of their banks, and Clark reports that the Black River crested at Powhatan at 22.77 feet and is now beginning a slow decline. Flood stage is 14 feet.

Water did get into a few businesses, with the most affected probably being Ashlock Tire Inc. in Walnut Ridge. The business reported approximately seven inches of water in its shop and office.

Miles said her office has received reports from two homeowners about water getting in their homes, one in Sedgwick and one in Minturn.

"I'm sure there are others," she said. "If anyone needs help they can contact our office and we can put them in touch with the Red Cross."

Lawrence County Extension Agent Herb Ginn said things are looking pretty grim for farmers.

"We have several thousand acres of crops under water," he said. "We are waiting to see how that plays out."

He said a lot of rice that was close to ready to go is now sprouting in the head, which can affect quality, and farmers are reporting losses in their bean fields, as well.

"These rains came for so long," he said. "We need some dry weather."

Miles said the county was fortunate to not have any injuries reported in connection with the flooding.

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