Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson was scheduled to tour parts of Jefferson County Tuesday that have been inundated with flooding from the swollen Arkansas River.
Tuesday morning, the river level sat at just over 50 feet, some 8 feet higher than flood stage. It’s on its way to a near-record crest of just over 51 feet by Wednesday or Thursday. The record, set in 1943, is 52.1 feet.
In the meantime, an areal flood warning has been issued for portions of Jefferson County in the area East of Earl Chadick Road, West of Highway 15 and North of the Arkansas River near Pastoria, Sherrill and Tucker.
Residents and businesses in these areas should be prepared for the possibility of flooding. According to the National Weather Service, an areal flood warning is normally issued for flooding that develops more gradually. This results in a gradual ponding or buildup of water in low-lying, flood-prone areas, as well as small creeks and streams.
Officials are encouraging everyone to sign up for alert notifications that Jefferson County will be updating from the emergency operations center. The website is https://JeffersonCounty911.onthealert.com.
The county is also closely monitoring the Packingtown and Potliquor communities in Pine Bluff as Arkansas' aging levee system is challenged.
Evacuation is not mandatory at this time. In the event of an evacuation, an emergency shelter is open in Pine Bluff at Seabrook (6808 S Hazel Street).
Residents preparing to evacuate should be sure to pack essential items such as medicines, special food items, baby items, batteries, phone chargers, clothing, bedding, money, documents, valuables and anything needed to keep comfortable for the duration of the flood danger which is likely to last at least two weeks. You can also call the Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management at (870) 541-5470 for sheltering options.
A mandatory evacuation was set last week for the following areas of Jefferson County.Trulock Bay Road in Sherrill Riverside Drive in Pine Bluff Tar Camp Creek Road in Redfield Island Harbor Area Canal Drive Crossover Lane Hendricks Road Holiday Drive Island Harbor Marina Road Riviera Drive Wright – Brodie Bend Area Marion Road Archer Road Campbell Road Fisher Adams Road Henslee Lake Road Marion Road Altheimer Area Knott’s Island Road Shepard Island Road Swan Lake Area South Swan Lake Rec Road East Swan Lake Rec Road Reydell Area Acorn Drive Bayou Meto Park Road Farelly Road Jacob Road Scroggins Road
"It is now mandatory that residents in these locations evacuate their homes and the flooded areas," a news release said.
"All those who ignore the mandatory evacuation order and have children could possibly face prosecution through the Sheriff’s Office for endangering the welfare of a minor.
"If you are unable to stay with friends or relatives outside the evacuation areas, call the Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management at 870-541-5470 for sheltering options."