Weekend storm system leaves thousands of Arkansas crop acres underwater
- Weekend storm system set new records for 24-hour totals
- Flood warnings up for parts of Cache, White, L'Anguille rivers
- “It was the most water I've seen in McCrory in the 22 years I've lived there.” -- Eugene Terhune
LITTLE ROCK — Thousands of acres of Arkansas farmland was under water Monday in the wake of a weekend storm system that dumped up to 10.4 inches of rain in parts of eastern Arkansas.
The National Weather Service at Little Rock reported that the 7.5 inches that fell at Augusta in Woodruff County set a new record for highest 24-hour rainfall. Des Arc, in Prairie County, also set a new 24-hour record with 4.75 inches of rain.
The list for 36-hour rainfall totals was topped by a 10.36-inch measurement at Little Dixie, which straddles the Prairie-Woodruff County line, followed by a 9.7-inch measurement at a State Plant Board gauge at Howell in Woodruff County. (See: http://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=LZK&product=PNS&issuedby=LZK)
On Monday, farmers, county extension and others were assessing the damage.
“Secretary (Butch) Calhoun has asked extension agents in the Cache and White River basins of the delta to survey flood damage from the almost 7 inches of rain that was received over the weekend,” Zach Taylor, spokesman for the Arkansas Agriculture Department, said Monday.
Eugene Terhune, Woodruff County extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said he and his county's Farm Service Agency director were surveying damage Monday morning.
“I've heard that we received 8-plus inches,” he said Monday. “It was the most water I've seen in McCrory in the 22 years I've lived there.”
Flood warnings were issued for the Cache River near Patterson, the White River near Augusta and on the L'Anguille River at Palestine, according to the National Weather Service offices in Memphis, Tennessee, and Little Rock.
“We received 3 to 8 inches of rain across Prairie County,” said Brent Griffin, Prairie County extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
Griffin shared images of crop fields completely submerged under new lakes.
“The worst areas are east of the White River. Some of those acres won't be replanted due to it being so late by the time the fields dry out,” he said.
Bill Robertson, extension cotton agronomist, wasn't expecting any good news from eastern Arkansas. “The cotton was still struggling from previous rains there.”
Mitch Crow, St. Francis County extension staff chair, said “we had 8 inches about three weeks ago out west of Forrest City. We lost about a quarter of our cotton variety demonstration then, and it was replanted to soybeans.
“This is adding much more injury to our crops,” he said, adding “I had 6 inches in my rain gauge at Colt.”
Jason Kelley, extension wheat and feed grains agronomist for the Division of Agriculture, said that “13 inches of rain or any of the large amounts we are hearing is not good. If we could have spread that amount of rain over a month or more, that would have been ideal.”
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service