UNDATED (KAIT) – Rising water is causing problems throughout southern Missouri and northeast Arkansas, and potential for major flooding lurks along several area rivers.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon sent the Missouri National Guard in to help in the area affected by flooding and threats to levees in southeast Missouri. Guard units will help emergency responders near Poplar Bluff.
A mandatory evacuation order was issued by the city of Polar Bluff late Monday morning in the area south of the Black River and east of WW Hwy ("Ditch Road"). According to the Incident Command Center at the Poplar Bluff Police Department, water is currently spilling over the top of the levee on the west side of Black River south of Poplar Bluff, and more evacuations have been issued for residents in Butler County living south of Poplar Bluff, north of HH Highway and between Hwy 142 and Black River. A shelter is established at the Black River Coliseum for those with no where to go.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Poplar Bluff has received 4 to 8 inches of rain since the middle of last week, and the current forecast calls an additional 5 to 9 inches between Monday and Wednesday. The Missouri Department of Transportation says parts of Highway 53, Highway 1-42, and 158 are closed in addition to many Butler County roads and the Poplar Bluff area.
In Hardy, AR, Police Chief Ernie Rose said The Spring River at Hardy has also passed flood stage and said residents were evacuated beginning at 4 a.m. Sunday when the river was at 11 feet, and everyone was able to leave their homes safely. Chief Rose did say some power line and trees were down in the area.
In addition, Hardy Mayor Nina Thornton says the flood warning system performed as expected and notified city officials of dangerous water levels. She says the river is currently at 13.8 feet at the bridge with debris coming down river. City Hall evacuated mid-Monday; all files and furniture were moved out during the evacuation.
The Randolph County Sheriff's Department says The Eleven Point River at Ravenden Springs is currently at 20 feet, almost 5 feet above flood stage. The department also says several roads are closed including multiple gravel roads, Highway 90 at Eleven Point, Highway 328 and Highway 166.
According to the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE), Norfork Lake was at 562.8 feet Monday morning and rising, with 34 percent of flood storage capacity in use. ACE says the lake can handle up to 5 more inches of runoff. Nearby Bull Shoals Lake was at 664.2 feet Monday Morning and rising with 21 percent of the lake storage capacity in use; Bull Shoals will be able to handle 5.8 inches of runoff. Greers Ferry Lake near Heber Springs was at 462.8 feet and rising with 5 percent of the storage capacity in use, and is able to hold 14.4 more inches.
NWS says a flash flood watch remained in effect for portions of east Arkansas from Monday evening through Wednesday evening for Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Lee, Mississippi, Poinsett, and St. Francis.
Many area schools closed early due to the rising waters.
A map of real-time stream flow monitoring sites and graphs of flooding in Arkansas from the past 7 days are available at the USGS website.