POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - Memorial Day marked the unofficial start to summer, but it's been feeling like July in Northeast Arkansas for awhile now. Not only is the heat and lack of rain affecting our crops, but our waterways as well.
As people across Region 8 hit the rivers and lakes for the holiday weekend, they noticed how low the levels were. For many, seeing the tree limbs and extra beaches on the river indicated what a difference a year makes.
"It's been low at times, but this is pretty bad," Carlota Carver, from Pocahontas said Monday.
Carlota and Joel Carver hit up Black River in Pocahontas for the holiday, but out of all the summertime holidays they've spent on the Black, they said they can tell this year is significantly lower than usual.
"You can see over there how low it is...so yeah, it's definitely down. We need some rain," Joel Carver said.
They're not necessarily surprised by the low levels though, saying it's "feast or famine" this time of year. It's a drastic change from this time last year, when waters reached flood levels, damaging towns like Payneway, Pocahontas and others throughout Region 8.
Water levels reached their highest in years in Pocahontas. The Black River was nearly flowing over the bridge. It finally crested at nearly 28 ½ feet. This year, it's a different story. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the water level in Black River sits at just shy of 1 ½ feet.
Unfortunately, the low water levels can be dangerous for boaters.
Carlota and Joel told Region 8 News that their best advice for boaters or anyone out enjoying the waterways, is to be aware of your surroundings.
"You've just gotta watch where you're going. Once you've been out here a few times you can pretty well know what you've gotta watch out for and where the river current is going and where it's deep and where's it shallow," Carlota said.
She also had a "glass half-full" outlook on the low river levels.
"We've noticed we have a lot more selection in beaches! There's always a good side to everything. You know, oftentimes there's just barely a little sliver here and there but now you can just pick your spot, there's plenty more and it's not so crowded!"