VAN BUREN, Ark. (KFSM) —Van Buren is expecting to see significant flooding in the coming days. Some streets and flood gates along the Arkansas River are being closed in preparation.
The Arkansas River is currently above flood stage in Van Buren, according to Sgt. Jonathan Wear with the Van Buren Police Department (VBPD). He says the river is at a level of 23.6 feet and is expected to rise to at least 31 feet by noon on Thursday (May 23). It's likely that the river will reach a minimum of 33 feet on Friday (May 24).
VBPD is calling the rising flood waters a dangerous situation and is asking citizens to please stay away from flooded areas.
Flood gates along the Arkansas River levee in Van Buren are closed. Only authorized personnel are permitted near the gates, and anyone caught on the levee system can be arrested for criminal trespassing.
The following streets in Van Buren have been closed:
- The road leading to Lee Creek Park in Downtown Van Buren
- Jefferson Street Bridge
- Rena Road between Pevehouse and Park Ridge Drive
One area, in particular, that is expected to see severe devastation is the Field of Dreams in Van Buren. The park and had a significant set back in 2014 when it was under several feet of water according to the Crawford County Emergency Management Director Brad Thomas. He told 5NEWS crews are in the area preparing for what's to come.
"We've already dropped our flood gates, all but a couple. They are waiting till later on today to drop their flood gates. Like I've said we've already evacuated some live stocks that we need to evacuate, our RV Parks have been notified, and they are in the process of evacuating or will be evacuating soon," Thomas said.
You are asked to please avoid all flooded areas and to not drive around barricades.