Looking Back At Historic Arkansas River Levels


The Arkansas River has reached historical crests before. But, this time we’re talking about record levels. And, the record we may break this weekend happened in 1945.

The most recent historical flood happened in 2015. Water levels rose above flood stage and rushed throughout neighborhoods. The Arkansas River crested at 34.63 feet by December 30th, 2015.

And, remember the 1990 flood? The current flood is forecast to be 5 feet above that.

Flash forward to the Arkansas River, now. As of Thursday night, the river level was at 30 feet. Water flowed quickly and waves actually crashed along the concrete.

By this weekend, water levels in the river are estimated to be well above this height, peaking at around 41 feet. The record level is at 38.1 feet.

One reason this is happening is because Northeast Oklahoma has accumulated over 10 inches of rainfall in the past 4 days. The Arkansas River flows through Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Any rain that falls near the river in those states will flow downstream towards Arkansas.

What makes matters worse is that an additional 3-4 inches of rain is expected to fall in Kansas and Oklahoma. This will drain into the Arkansas River.

But, how much water is that exactly? Let’s say one inch of water falls over one acre of land. That’s equivalent to 27,000 gallons of water. Accumulating rainfall means additional gallons of water flowing into the river.

Covering news where you live, I’m 5NEWS Meteorologist Sabrina Bates.

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