Historic flooding continues across the Midwest, causing levees to breach along the Mississippi and Arkansas rivers. Authorities have issued mandatory evacuation orders for parts of the region. Midwest is experiencing catastrophic flooding since mid-March, leading to historically delayed planting season.
The Dardanelle Levee along the Arkansas River rose 0.6 m (2 feet) above its record crest and breached early Friday, May 31, 2019, near the community of Holla Bend, flooding about 75 homes and forcing residents to evacuate.
Floodwaters are expected to spread to Smiley Bayou (population 500) but only an unspecified number of people living in low-lying areas are expected to evacuate, CNN reported.
Dardanelle (population 4 700) is also preparing for flood waters.
“We have had a levee breach in the lower upper bottoms,” Dardanelle Mayor Jimmy Witt said. “What this means for Dardanelle is that we will be preparing for a possible flooding situation coming from the bayou side. We will need both sandbagging operations going today and I ask you to please not panic, we have time to prepare for this. It will not be coming into our area for quite a while. Hwy 7 bridge is open and traffic is flowing at a good pace.”
More than 500 homes in Arkansas have been flooded, Melody Daniel, state emergency management spokeswoman told CNN.
The biggest concern is in the unprecedented pressure the flooding has put on the levees as they have never held back this much water for this long, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said May 29.
“This is looking to be record-breaking all along the Arkansas River, and this is something we have never seen before,” Daniel said.