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The Latest: 1 Arkansas levee weakening, officials say

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) – The Latest on flooding affecting parts of the United States (all times local):

7:30 a.m.

Officials in western Arkansas are carefully watching a levee that’s beginning to deteriorate because of the overflowing Arkansas River.

The Van Buren Police Department says a portion of the levee system in rural Crawford County is “showing signs of significant leakage and deterioration” because of record flows from the river.

The area is near Fort Smith, where historic flooding is occurring because of a rush of water headed downstream from Oklahoma and Kansas.



Police say the Van Buren levee is still functioning but there is a risk of a breach. The National Weather Service predicts the river will remain above record levels in western Arkansas for at least several days.

In Oklahoma, water levels are slowly dropping on the Arkansas River near Tulsa but widespread flooding remains.

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5 a.m.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is activating the Illinois National Guard to respond to recent severe flooding.

Pritzker is holding a Thursday morning news conference at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency in Springfield with Adjutant General Richard Neely and others about the planned activation.

The update comes a day after Madison County in southern Illinois was declared a disaster area and National Guard help was sought to aid in flood-fighting efforts. County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler said the disaster exists due to record-breaking flooding along the Mississippi River.

Emergency management officials say agencies are pre-positioning equipment near levees and the county has sent its sandbagging machine to Alton. High water has forced some bridges across the Mississippi River to close between Illinois and Missouri, causing detours for some motorists.

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After 19 Tornadoes Ripped Through 4 States, Millions Are Now Under Flash Flooding Threat

(CNN) — Severe thunderstorms will drench and flood parts of Oklahoma on Tuesday, following on the heels of a series of tornadoes that touched down in that state and others.

At least 19 tornadoes swept through central Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas on Monday, carrying warnings of “considerable” damage to homes, businesses and vehicles with the possibility of “complete destruction.”

Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas were still under a tornado watch early Tuesday, with the National Weather Service warning of “flying debris” which could be dangerous to those caught without shelter.

Wind gusts had reached 74 mph in some Oklahoma communities Tuesday morning. Storms in neighboring Texas were bringing the threat of golf ball-size hail.

Fierce thunderstorms also are expected to rattle regions from the mid-Mississippi River Valley into Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, the weather service said.

The Little Rock, Arkansas, weather service said the primary threats will be “damaging winds and a few squall-line tornadoes,” with also possible heavy rain and large hail.

Water rescues in Oklahoma

As storms drench the area, more than 50 million people will be at risk of flash flooding, hail and damaging winds.

The weather service has issued a flash flood emergency for the Tulsa area, including Tulsa, Rogers, Mayes, Wagoner, Osage, Pawnee and Washington counties — where up to 5 inches of rain have already fallen and another three could be possible.

The National Weather Service Tulsa urged people in those areas to move to higher ground as more heavy rainfall is expected.

“We’re seeing reports of flooding and water rescues across (northeast) Oklahoma,” state emergency management spokeswoman Keli Cain told CNN.

“Hominy (Osage County) and Broken Arrow (Wagoner County) both have significant flooding and are setting up shelters for people who have been displaced by high water; Washington County Emergency Management reports a mobile home park is flooded in Dewey,” Cain said.

The weather service’s Springfield, Missouri office has also issued a watch lasting into early Tuesday morning for severe thunderstorms in central and southern Missouri.

Wind gusts up to 75 mph, tornadoes, floods and baseball-size hail are possible.

Streets turn into streams

Multiple Oklahoma highways are closed due to high water or storm debris. Authorities warned drivers to stay off roads in anticipation of additional flooding expected overnight.

Roads in Ponca City, in northern Oklahoma, have turned into rivers, with the local government urging drivers to stay away from the water.

The county emergency manager reported flooding in the city had begun to enter buildings, CNN affiliate KTUL reported. Several roads had also been closed off.

In Mangum, near the state’s border with Texas, city officials said a tornado hit a house and ripped the roof off a two-story apartment building, according to CNN affiliate KOCO.

The police department asked residents to “not get out and drive around.”

“On top of emergency crews trying to fix power lines and other damage from the tornado,” the department said, “the roads are now flooding due to the intense rain.”

“By trying to check out the weather, you are only putting yourself and the crews in further danger.”

Stillwater Public Schools, in northern Oklahoma, announced schools in the district will be closed Tuesday “due to excessive flooding.”

Power poles, trees, roofs, barns torn up

More than 4 million people were considered to be in harm’s way early Tuesday morning from Texas to Missouri as forecasters warned of violent tornadoes, CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy said.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency management reported multiple counties have already reported damage to homes, fairgrounds and barns. Numerous power lines and trees are down.

Women’s NCAA Championships Delayed At Blessings

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – Winds had been a factor for the early parts of the round but with rain moving into the area, the NCAA women’s golf championship has been put into a weather delay.

The delay was issued at 4:15 p.m. and no restart time has been announced as of yet.

Arkansas senior Maria Fassi is currently sitting at the top of the leaderboard as she is 7-under for the tournament, including 4-under through 12 holes at Monday at the time of the delay. Fassi has a three stroke lead on Florida’s Sierra Brooks who finished with a round of even par on Monday.

As a team, Arkansas is in good position to advance to the match play portion of the championship as the top eight teams will qualify. The Razorbacks are currently in fourth place at 22-over par, 11 strokes better than Purdue who is in ninth place. Duke is leading at 7-over par when play was delayed.

Alexander police warn of vicious pack of dogs attacking, killing family pets

SALINE COUNTY, Ark. — A pack of vicious dogs are roaming parts of Saline County, pinning down and killing one woman’s pet.

“We’ve turned up nothing at this point,” Alexander police detective, Jessica Hill said. “These dogs are dangerous.”

Alexander police are warning people near and around the area about the pack of five dogs that they say are pack hunting.

Detective Hill said the dogs are traveling together and appear to be on the hunt for small animals.

An Alexander woman caught the pack on home surveillance in the 14-hundred block of South Alexander Road.

They ganged up on Dachshund, Ticko, and attacked and killed him.

Community members also responded to Alexander police on Facebook. One man claimed the same pack of dogs killed his cat.

“Because of how violent and rough these dogs were, we are concerned if they are willing to attack another dog there is concern about a small child that could be outside playing unattended,” said Hill.

Alexander police are doing 24/7 patrols, even using night vision scopes during their searches in the dark.

“The last sighting we had was in the Johnswood area off of south Shobe Road,” said Hill.

That’s the last credible sighting. The pack started migrating into Bryant city limits late Thursday night.

RELATED: Dogs bites off hand of Utah boy trying to play with animal

“We have a lot of people assuming these are pit bulls, they are not,” said Hill. They are mixed breed dogs. One is black, another is white with dark brown spots.

Two others have pointed ears and are tan in color, and another is considered older that’s either black or brown.

If you see the pack of dogs, police urge you not to go near them. Instead, immediately call your local animal control, police, or sheriff’s department.

164 Without Power In Fort Smith; 369 In The Dark In Franklin County

(KFSM) — Several power outages left residents in the dark in parts of Fort Smith and Franklin County.

In Fort Smith, Oklahoma Gas & Electric reported 164 customers were in the dark after three power failures scattered throughout town. Storms were moving through the area, but it was not confirmed that they were the source of the power failures.

OG&E estimated that power would be restored by 8:30 a.m.

A power outage left 369 residents in Franklin County in the dark early Monday.

Arkansas Valley Electric reported the outage on its website. The power failure originated along Highway 23 about midway between Ozark and Caulksville.

The website said the cause was unknown.

An estimate on when power would be restored was not given.

In Northwest Arkansas, Carroll Electric reported 55 without power in northwest Benton County. Most of those were in the Stoney Brook area, with 34 without power. A restoration time wasn’t given.

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.

-Sabrina

After a gorgeous Friday it may be difficult to believe that severe weather is expected for parts of the state on Saturday.

First is important to note that there will be a sharp cut-off on where the severe weather is possible and it is all dependent of the track of the low pressure and position of the warm front. No severe weather is expected to the northwest of Little Rock.

Check out the map below for which parts of the state could see severe weather starting early as 1 p.m. Saturday for south Arkansas and expanding north through the day until as late as 11 p.m.

Severe wx threat

KTHV

RED ZONE: (Camden, Monticello, Warren, El Dorado)  Severe Weather Likely, with storms in the afternoon and evening possibly producing large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes (including strong and long-tracked).

ORANGE ZONE: (Pine Bluff, Arkadelphia, Stuttgart)  Severe Weather Possible with storms in the afternoon and evening capable of producing damaging winds, large hail and a weak spin-up tornado.

YELLOW ZONE: ( Hot Springs, Little Rock) Low risk of severe weather but some storms in the evening could produce damaging winds and large hail. Tornado threat low.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Stay weather aware.

Download the THV11 app and make sure you have settings to allow weather alerts.

Make sure your NOAA radio is good to go.

If you live in a mobile or manufactured home have a place to go that is much safer, a shelter, another home that is well constructed and anchored to the ground with interior rooms that do not have windows.

Below is some advice from the National Weather Service on tornado safety.

Wx safety

KTHV

EXPECTED SCENARIO:

A low pressure system will develop in east Texas and swing across central Arkansas through the day on Saturday dragging a cold front through the area Saturday evening. As the low develops it will pull in warm and moist air from Louisiana into southern parts of the state. This will set the stage for the potential of severe weather in this area.

The tornado risk is high in southeast Arkansas because there are high winds about 5,000 feet that will cause the storms to rotate in this region.

Wx graph 1

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Wx graph 2

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FLASH FLOODING:

Heavy rain through the day could cause smaller creeks and streams to rise out of their banks. Water could also pond in low lying or poor drainage areas. Rainfall totals from this event will range from 1 to 3”. Isolated locations could see more if heavy rain falls in a location for a long period of time.

Rain

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FUTURE RADAR: The time could be off a couple of hours.

Below shows what the radar is expected to look like through the day. We will be watching the potential of supercells developing in the RED ZONE ahead of the cold front as it charges through Saturday afternoon and evening. The threat of severe weather should be done for Arkansas by 11 p.m.

If there is sunshine in southeast or south Arkansas, the threat of severe weather will increase. Sunshine in this set-up is like adding fuel to the fire.

8 a.m. wx

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12 p.m. wx

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3 p.m. wx

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5 p.m. wx

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8 p.m. wx

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