Coastal Flood Advisory

Weekly wrap-up: Levee failures cause extensive flooding in Arkansas; Dust storm clouds Beijing

By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather staff writer
May 06, 2017, 10:12:57 AM EDT

Catastrophic flooding ensued in parts of Arkansas this week after torrential rain and levee failures.

Evacuation orders were issued on Monday for eastern Pocahontas, which included 150 homes, dozens of businesses and an assisted living facility, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Water had begun to spill over the top of the levee on Tuesday and it breached on Wednesday.

At least 50 homes were destroyed or sustained major damage due to the flooding, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

"This is the most extensive flooding in an urban area that I've ever seen as governor," Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said.


This aerial image shows the severe flooding that has overwhelmed parts of Pocahontas, Arkansas. (Photo/Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson)

Days of heavy rain resulted in the record crests of numerous rivers across the central United States. Many parts of the Mississippi River in Missouri and Arkansas will remain above flood stage into next week.

"A general 4-8 inches of rain fell, while some locations received 10 inches of rain in part of the Central states," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

At least seven people have been killed due to the severe storms and heavy flooding in Arkansas since April 26.

According to the Associated Press, officials warned residents that wildlife like snakes, turtles and deer may be roaming around damaged property. Warnings were also issued urging people to stay out of floodwaters that may be contaminated by raw sewage and chemicals.

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Intense rainfall forced officials to close the historical Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis this week. Executive Director J. Stewart Goodwin said Thursday’s closure came after rainfall caused leaks in places not previously identified in the limestone monument, which features a nearly 285-foot tower with an observation deck, the AP reported.

Strong storms blasted parts of the Northeast early this week, leaving tens of thousands without power. More than 80,000 were without power across Pennsylvania on Monday night. Strong winds downed trees and power lines across the region.

Beijing was struck by a choking dust storm on Thursday. Air quality index levels peaked at 621. Anything above 300 is considered hazardous, according to the United States Department of State Air Quality Monitoring Program.

More than 400 flights were delayed on Thursday at the Capital International Airport after visibility fell to between 1.25-2.25 miles (2-3.6 km).

China May 4

A traffic warden closes the gate on bicycle lane near Tiananmen Square as Beijing is hit by polluted air and sandstorm Thursday, May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

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