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Ozark Butterball Plant Closed Due To High Water, Plant Not Impacted By Flooding

OZARK (KFSM) — The Butterball plant is Ozark is closed Thursday (May 30) because of high water, but the plant itself hasn’t been impacted by the historic flooding affecting the River Valley.

A company spokeswoman said officials are “evaluating conditions day-by-day and making the call to close or open the plant with the safety of plant employees traveling to and from work top of mind.”

The plant, which employees 600, was closed last Friday and Tuesday through today.

The Arkansas River crested at just under 40 feet Wednesday, passing the all-time highest level of 38.1 feet set in May 1945.

The river will crest again around midnight Thursday into Friday at 40.5 feet, according to new National Weather Service projections.  This total includes rainfall expected in the next 18 hours.

Rain will continue to end this morning from west to east with a nice afternoon expected. Next rain chances arrive this weekend into this week.

Alma Trash Pickup To Be Delayed; Wastewater Pump Station Flooding, But Rest Of System Working

ALMA (KFSM) — Trash pickup will be delayed in Alma this week, because trash trucks may have trouble reaching the landfill.

Mark Yardley, public works director for the Alma Public Works, said the trash pickup is contracted to River Valley Waste Disposal, which uses the Fort Smith Landfill for its disposal.

Unfortunately, the only way to get there is over the Barling Bridge, otherwise known as the Highway 59 Bridge. That bridge is now heavily congested after the other three bridges that get into Fort Smith — the Garrison Avenue, Midland and I-540 bridges — are shut down because of rising floodwaters.

That means it could take hours to get a load to the landfill and return for pickup, Yardley said.

It’s going to be greatly delayed,” Yardley said. “They’re going to continue trying, it’s just that it’s not going to happen on the normal schedule.”

Yardley suggested that people put their trash out as normal, but if it isn’t picked up that day, to put it inside so animals won’t get to it and try again the next day.

The other alternative, Yardley said, is for River Valley Waste to take their loads to the Tontitown Landfill in Northwest Arkansas, which may prove to be a faster route. Yardley said that decision will be up to River Valley Waste.

As for the other public works, Yardley said the water system isn’t having any problems, though there is a “minor inconvenience” with the wastewater system.

Alma’s water supply, Lake Alma, is at a higher elevation and not in danger of being contaminated by the floods, he said. The water plant itself is “high and dry and in great shape,” he said.

The wastewater station’s effluent pump station has taken on water and is expected to take on more before it’s over with, but it’s not a major issue because the station is simply used to pump treated wastewater into the river. The pump isn’t functioning, but it’s not a problem, since the water is simply flowing into the river water surrounding the station.

“Instead of us going to the river, the river came to us,” Yardley said.

Yardley said the pump was down because the electrical system had to be abandoned to keep it from being damaged by water. He said crews came in as the flood approached and dismantled the electrical system to take it to higher ground, everything from transformers to circuit boards.

“We’ve salvaged everything to keep it from being destroyed,” he said. Once the water has receded, the system can simply be reassembled.

Yardley said the lagoons that are part of the wastewater treatment are surrounded by levees and are not in danger.

The main wastewater treatment plant is at a higher elevation and isn’t affected, Yardley said.


Enjoy sunshine for now because by the weekend our next system arrives bringing us the potential for some strong thunderstorms.

Early Look At Weekend Storm Potential

High pressure should keep the Ozarks mainly dry Tuesday-Friday, except for a stray pop-up shower thanks to Northwest Flow. That means the majority of the work week we should have pleasant weather.  By Saturday, a trough will be approaching, as well as a negatively-tilted shortwave, which is conducive for thunderstorm development. By the afternoon, a cold front will be sweeping across Oklahoma, firing storms along it and pushing east towards Arkansas.  Timing is subject to change as more information comes in, but here’s what the potential looks like right now:

Early Look At Weekend Storm Potential


Saturday Afternoon/Evening/Night – Sunday Morning (moving west to east)


Gusty winds, lightning, hail, and isolated tornadoes (the flash flooding is risk lower thanks quick storm movement along a line)


The strongest storms may be in eastern Oklahoma as they lose steam a bit crossing into Arkansas.  This depends on the placement of the cold front and how fast the upper-level trough leaves the Rockies. Area subject to be modified.  On Sunday, the severe threat shifts towards eastern Arkansas.

Early Look At Weekend Storm Potential

Stay tuned for more updates.


Unusually high winds struck parts of Northwest Arkansas overnight, but it wasn’t because of thunderstorms.  It was caused by a “wake low”.

Strong winds stretched from Fayetteville to Siloam Springs. Local airports reported that the highest winds gusted between 50 to 60 mph. This caused tree damage and power outages, even though the rain was wrapping up.

Early Morning “Wake Low” Causes High Winds

The circled area is where the strongest winds were produced.

“Wake Low” Breakdown

This weather phenomena is defined as a mesoscale low that develops behind the high pressure created by the rain. These events are considered to be fairly rare.

Early Morning “Wake Low” Causes High Winds

This graphic visually explains how the “wake low” develops behind the rain.

Wind is caused by differences in atmospheric pressure. The squall line of thunderstorms has a small area of high pressure (mesoscale high). Atmospheric winds flow from high to low pressure. As the dissipating storms move off to the east, an area of lower pressure begins to form behind the rain. Rapid pressure falls over a short amount of time cause the winds to increase in the “wake low” area.

Typically, there is little to no rain and clearing skies associated with this phenomena.

Strongest Wind Gusts Across The Area

Early Morning “Wake Low” Causes High Winds

The highest reported wind gust was in Rogers.

The “wake low” developed in the early morning hours after midnight. The winds were fairly calm before the speeds rapidly increased within 5 minutes. The strongest gusts occurred from around 1am to 2am, and the winds subsided after that. Winds are considered severe by the National Weather Service when they reach 60 mph. The NWS considered the high winds “non-thunderstorm wind gusts”.

Early Morning “Wake Low” Causes High Winds

Wind speeds as the “wake low” developed around 1AM climbed to damaging levels.

Early Morning “Wake Low” Causes High Winds

These are the peak wind gusts around 2AM in Benton County.

South of the hill, wind speeds ranged from 10 to 20 mph. The winds didn’t affect the River Valley since it was still raining there, and the “wake low” was too far away.


A look inside the hyperbaric chamber at CHI St. Vincent

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Hope you’re not claustrophobic, because in today’s episode of wear the gown, we’re sending you on a short trip. We’re taking you inside a hyperbaric chamber, in hopes you never really have to go here. 

These chambers are the focal point for the CHI St. Vincent Wound Care Center. 

“It incorporates many aspects other than simply looking at a wound and changing the dressing,” doctors at CHI St. Vincent said.

They get the call when healing a wound needs something extra. 

“I think it’s somebody that needs more than standard care. Somebody that fails to respond in the standard way.” 

This is where the hyperbaric chamber can come into play. 

“It’s 100 percent oxygen, under pressure,” they said. 

The goal is the growth of new blood vessels which helps rejuvenate injured tissue and healthy skin. But keep in mind, only about five to 10 percent of the center’s patents ever need it. 

“But honestly most of our patients have an underlying chronic condition which impeded the ability to heal normally in the first place,” they said. 

Long, periodic treatment schedules are needed to fight their number one enemy: diabetes. 

“Most of the diabetic foot ulcers are on the pressure bearing surfaces of the foot,” they said. 

Even with hyperbaric chambers, treatments may take months, but it’s worth it. 

“The alternative is immediate amputation,” they said. “You know we’re saving their foot but we’re also prolonging their life in that process.” 

They have a hospital full of specialists that can then come into play in correcting the underlying problem that caused that wound in the first place. 

“If someone has fallen through the cracks somewhere else, they can come here,” they said. “We will coordinate their care.” 

These are chambers of hope.

The Wound Care Center is adjacent to the main hospital on the CHI St. Vincent campus here in Little Rock. The hyperbaric therapy is now so common — that Medicare covers over 15 procedures using those chambers.