Disaster Declaration Issued For Crawford, Sebastian Counties As Arkansas River Approaches Historic Levels

SEBASTIAN COUNTY (KFSM) — A disaster declaration has been issued for Crawford and Sebastian counties ahead of the Arkansas River reaching historic water levels, according to Travis Cooper with Sebastian County EMS and Crawford County Judge Dennis Gilstrap.

The disaster declaration means the counties will be ready to receive state resources and aid in the coming days.

In the following days, the Arkansas River is expected to rise to 41 feet surpassing the record set in 1943 of 38 feet.

The overflow of water is coming from the Tulsa District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releasing water from full dams in the Sooner State.

Areas expected to be impacted the most are communities near the Arkansas River in Fort Smith and Van Buren. Free sandbags are being offered to property owners, and The Salvation Army is gathering volunteers to hand out supplies and meals to those impacted by future floods.

Some streets in Van Buren and Fort Smith have already closed in hopes drivers will not get swept away by flood waters.

The riverfront park in Downtown Fort Smith is being closed by police as waters start to overtake the park.

No evacuations have been issued for towns in  Sebastian County yet.

Stay with 5NEWS on the latest developments on water levels where you live as we head into the weekend. 

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