The flood-weary Southern Plains prepare for more rain
Friday, May 29, 2015, 5:47 - The rain-soaked areas across the Southern Plains have more storms coming their way. Forecasters say it could rain through the weekend in the towns and cities already deluged by flooding.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch Friday for much of Arkansas following heavy rainfall across the state.
Forecasters say there will be several rounds of rainfall in Arkansas this weekend as a slow-moving storm system moves across the Southern Plains.
While rainfall totals will generally be 1 to 2 inches with each round, the rainfall combined with already saturated ground will likely cause flash flooding in the northwest half of the state.
The flash flood watch will remain in effect through Saturday night in portions of central, north central, southwest and western Arkansas.
Forecasters say area rivers and streams are already flooding or are nearly full, and any additional rainfall the region gets will not be able to drain into waterways.
Recent storms have caused widespread flooding in Texas and nearby states and have been blamed for 20 deaths in Texas and four in Oklahoma. Fourteen people in Texas are also missing, as of Friday afternoon.
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Here's a brief recap of what it's been like in the last couple of days across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas.
The Colorado River is expected to crest two feet lower than previously expected in and around the southeastern Texas city of Wharton, where residents have been asked to evacuate about 300 homes.
City spokeswoman Paula Favors told the Associated Press Friday that river level is expected to crest Saturday morning at 43 feet, not the 45 feet predicted Thursday.
She said a 43-foot crest would likely flood several residential streets in low-lying areas of Wharton, a city of roughly 8,500 residents about 60 miles southwest of Houston.
Meanwhile, authorities said Friday the Brazos River in North Texas' Parker County is rising again due to new rain and the opening of two flood gates upstream at Possum Kingdom Lake.
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Joel Kertok, the emergency management spokesman for the county west of Fort Worth, said Friday that the river there has risen above flood stage again after dropping below it Thursday night.
Residents of about 250 homes near the river, most in the Horseshoe Bend community, were asked to voluntarily evacuate.
On Thursday, a line of thunderstorms stalled while passing over the Dallas area overnight, dropping as much as 7 inches of rain in some areas as vehicles became trapped on flooded streets and water seeped into homes.
Officials say an average of 3 to 5 inches of rain fell across the area after the thunderstorms stalled over the city. The Dallas suburb of Garland got from 6 to 7 inches of rain.
The rain was once again making the roadways dangerous for residents in Oklahoma.
Keli Cain, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management told the Associated Press Thursday that several bridges that service main roads remain flooded in Marshall County, along Oklahoma's border with Texas, and that some residents are effectively cut off. Atoka and LeFlore counties are also still dealing with the storm fallout.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation said nearly 30 roads in at least 18 mostly rural counties remained closed Friday due to flooding or damage.
Drivers were being cautioned to heed warning signs and to not drive around barricades.
At least six people in Oklahoma have died so far in recent severe weather.
According to the National Weather service, more rain is coming. Parts of eastern Oklahoma is expected to get drenched with 4 to 6 inches of rain in the coming days.
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Arkansas transportation officials closed a section of Southbound U.S. Highway 71 north of the Texas border due to flooding along the Red River on Friday.
The state Highway and Transportation Department said it closed a 2.47 miles of the southbound lanes Friday morning and that it may soon also have to close the northbound lanes as well.
The road would remain closed until the water recedes and engineers can assess any damage.
A flooded 5-mile section of State Highway 41 near the Texas border also remained closed.
The area has received 5 to 10 inches of rain this month, which is above average.
Up to 2 inches of additional rainfall is possible this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
Officials say several southeastern Kansas reservoirs are at flood-stage and that some low-lying areas of that region are already dealing with flooding.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback told the Associated Press Friday that people in those areas need to be careful not to get caught unprepared by flooding.
Storms are dumping more rain on the region and all of southeastern Kansas is under flood warnings or flash flood watches.
Kansas' adjutant general, Lee Tafanelli, said the state is assessing the damage and trying to project the potential impact of additional rain.
Sources: CNN | The Associated Press | Storm Prediction Center