Storms Blow Through Flood-Ravaged River Valley; Severe Weather Expected Today
FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A complex of storms blew through eastern Oklahoma and the River Valley early Wednesday (May 29), bringing high winds and torrential rain in areas that are already flooded.
The National Weather Service reports that a 61mph wind gust was reported at the Fort Smith Airport at 2.39 a.m. Power outages were reported in Arkoma, Oklahoma, and in Fort Smith and Ozark in Arkansas. About 100 were without power in Arkoma, and Oklahoma Gas & Electric reported 1,010 customers in the Fort Smith area without power as of 6:30 a.m.
The storm dropped about 1.6 inches of rain in Fort Smith, a city already inundated with historic flooding. The area was under a Flash Flood Watch until this evening.
The storm complex is one of two expected to move through the area. The system Wednesday afternoon is expected to bring severe weather, including a possibility of isolated tornadoes. Most of the region is in a Level 3 area for potential severe weather.
The biggest threat in this afternoon’s storms will be heavy rain — the last thing the area needs. Up to 2-3 inches of rain could fall this afternoon. That comes as the Arkansas River is expected to crest today at a record flood stage of about 41 feet, nearly 3 feet over the previous record.
Storms are expected to come through about 1 p.m. this afternoon, said meteorologist Joe Pennington. High, damaging winds are a high threat, and hail is also possible.