Saline County Looks for Boats as New Storm System Approaches

BENTON, AR - Saline County spent a week picking up blown-off shingles and cleaning culverts after 10 tornadoes roared through central Arkansas the night of April 3.

Now, as forecasters predict a new set of storms that could bring torrential rains and isolated tornadoes coming through the state today, county officials have a new request.  They want to borrow residents' flat-bottom and inflatable boats.

Saline County Judge Lanny Fite, the county's top administrator, said county workers had been working night and day trying to prepare.  But he said there's not a whole lot they can do to prepare for rain of the magnitude that is forecast.

Forecasters said the new front could be on scale with a system that spawned 10 tornadoes last week in central Arkansas.  The National Weather Service in North Little Rock predicted Saline County would receive up to two inches of rain today, mixed in with gusts of wind up to 30 mph.

FEMA estimates at least 47 homes were destroyed by last week's tornadoes in Saline County.  More could be affected as rainwater hits already saturated fields and lawns tomorrow.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)