Arkansas Levee in Danger of Failing, Jackson County Official Warns
Levee is eroding in Jackson County, Arkansas
Some people living near the White River in northeast Arkansas have been warned to leave their homes because flooding is eroding a levee on the river, an official says.
Jackson County Judge Jeff Phillips declared an emergency Tuesday night and announced a voluntary evacuation.
As a precaution, the American Red Cross opened a shelter in Newport, Arkansas, about 82 miles northeast of Little Rock. A breach could send floodwaters into parts of surrounding Jackson County and neighboring Woodruff County. The White River at Newport reached major flood stage Thursday morning. As of 7 a.m. local time, it was at 30.01 feet, according to the National Weather Service. The river is expected to start falling on Friday, though the flood warning continues until Feb. 20. Early forecasts say more precipitation is likely early next week.
Heavy rain fell across much of the state earlier this week. Some parts of northeast Arkansas saw up to half a foot of rain.
“The levee is holding right now, but I just don’t know if it will hold,” Judge Phillips told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "On the err of caution, I want people to be aware this levee could fail, and when it does, it's going to be a lot of water."
The newspaper said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspectors were planning to survey the levee on Thursday.
Phillips told KAIT-TV he first learned of the levee erosion a week ago. He said more than $100,000 had been spent earlier on repairs to the levee.
“I personally think it just didn’t have enough time for the grass to grow and for it to settle before we got this kind of rainfall, so I think if we would’ve had a little more time, then I think it would do better than it’s doing right now,” he said. A report by the Corps of Engineers warned in May 2017 the levee was deteriorating and more than 400 structures could be in danger if the levee failed.
"Any of the risks ... could possibly lead to a sudden breach of the levee, resulting in significant property damages and potentially the loss of life. The leveed area consists primary of farmland with some homes. Most of the homes are on the outer edge of the leveed area and the residents will have a short exit route out of the leveed area," the report said.
Betty Faust is one of about 30 homeowners who could be affected by the levee failing. On Wednesday she was packing her belongings.
"I didn't know there was anything going wrong. Last night the mayor called [and] told us about it," Faust told KARK-TV. "Right now we're just trying to get our personal stuff."
Robert Gilliaum told KAIT he has never seen water levels this high in the decades he has lived in the area.
“If this thing washes out, I have eight hours from the time it washes out until it gets here, so the folks south of me need to be prepared to move real quick like,” Gilliaum said.
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Your first task in addressing water damage is to remove any water that remains. That means pumping out standing water and drying out waterlogged surfaces.
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Be patient. Depending on the level of water damage incurred, it can take weeks or months for your home’s structural elements to be thoroughly dried. Only then should you replace drywall, carpets and other floor coverings.
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If your home or commercial building recently flooded due to storm damage or some sort of plumbing issues, you're probably unsure of the next step. Not only are you worried about property damage from the water, but you also have to worry about mold in your home or business. Mold can affect indoor air quality, can cause significant property damage and can cause a foul smell that even the best deodorization techniques can't get rid of! Follow these tips if you're dealing with residential or commercial mold in Jonesboro or North East Arkansas.
You just never really know what can be floating around in standing water that can hurt you. For example, electrical wiring. You don't want to endure an electrical shock. Once you know you can safely enter, PROTECT YOURSELF by wearing protective clothing, such as gloves and a face mask.
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This is the very first step! Before the mold can be properly addressed, as much moisture as possible needs to be removed. If there is standing water, it can be dangerous to walk into your home or commercial property, so please make sure you can safely enter the building or structure.
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What To Do Until Help Arrives
A fire can leave behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems. Ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and other floor coverings will often need a thorough professional cleaning. If your home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prevent further damage until your local SERVPRO of Jonesboro arrives. The following tips may help reduce damage and increase chances of a successful restoration.
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