Wednesday weather wrap: 50 homes destroyed or with major damage

Levee breach in Randolph Co. (Source: KAIT)
Levee breach in Randolph Co. (Source: KAIT)
News conference Wednesday afternoon in Randolph County. (Source: KAIT)
News conference Wednesday afternoon in Randolph County. (Source: KAIT)
Lawrence County road crews spreading rocks around railroads. (Source: KAIT)
Lawrence County road crews spreading rocks around railroads. (Source: KAIT)

RANDOLPH COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Floodwaters continue to rise in some areas as more unwanted rain and storms push through.

In Randolph County, about 50 homes are destroyed or have "major damage," according to county and city officials.

Eleven rescues happened on Wednesday in Pocahontas for a total of 36 rescues thus far.

Pocahontas Police Chief Cecil Tackett says nine levees have been breached.

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Pocahontas Mayor Kary Story issued a dusk to dawn curfew for the city.

For those on boats, Story said, "Use common sense and think about what you're doing to people here."

Boating has been an issue, according to Story, "People have come in, made a high wake, and messed up one of our water pumps."

"Even though the water is going down, don't go through there," Randolph County Judge David Jansen said. "We have a long way to go. Our residents have a long way to go."

According to the judge, officials in Missouri at Clearwater Lake planned Tuesday to release 7,000 cubic feet of water per second from the lake. Jansen said, "That's coming toward us."

Businesses on the east side of Highway 67 will be allowed in to survey the damage soon, officials said. Right now, there are no numbers on how many businesses sustained damage.

Jansen also said they are in the process of setting up a temporary location for the health department.

The judge said federal help is coming but stated it's going to be slow and that they have to be patient. It may be a month before they even can have a meeting with FEMA, Jansen said. He urges residents and business owners to document and photograph everything.

Despite an expected two to three inches of rain in the area, officials do not expect a significant rise in flooding. Floodwaters are expected to "stabilize" at 27 feet.

The biggest threat now, officials say, is south of Pocahontas in areas such as Shannon and Portia. "It's going into Lawrence County," Jansen said.

Officials mentioned seeing chunks of concrete coming off the levee on Highway 304 on Tuesday.

"Our number one goal: Don't lose a life. And we've succeeded so far," Jansen proclaimed. Right now, 34 people are staying at the Pocahontas shelter.

"Keep us in your prayers," said Jansen. "We're strong up here and we will get through this."

The National Weather Service in Memphis has issued a Flash Flood emergency after stating the levee failed on the Black River at Pocahontas.

NWS urges those in the area to seek higher ground immediately.

Overnight the Black River at Pocahontas broke a record for flooding and crested at 28.95 feet. Since the reported levee breaks the water is predicted to go down in that area.

In Lawrence County, road crews were busy Wednesday morning moving rocks to keep floodwaters from washing out the railroads on Highway 63 and 412, between Walnut Ridge and Portia.

County Judge John Thomison expects the water to reach his county within the next two days.

The areas of Coffman, Portia, and Clover Bend will be the most affected. Residents in those areas are advised to start packing now in preparation to leave.

Meanwhile, Lawrence County District Court postponed Thursday's court until a later date.

For more road closures in Arkansas and Missouri, use the links below:

Flash Flood Warnings/Watches are still in effect for much of the area.

Shelters have been opened around Region 8 to help those displaced.

Most of the school closures are in Missouri for Wednesday.

A few areas are still in the dark after storms earlier this week.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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