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Floods kill 16 in Arkansas; dozens missing

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 4:24 PM GMT on June 11, 2010

Heavy rains in excess of seven inches fell over southwestern Arkansas overnight, triggering flash floods that killed at least sixteen people in Caddo Gap, in the rugged Ouachita Mountains. Forty people are missing, with dozens injured. The closest weather station to the disaster is Mount Ida, which recorded 7.16" of rain over the past 48 hours. The USGS is reporting that the Caddo River in Caddo Gap rose from 8.4 feet at 3am CDT to 25.39 feet in just five hours, reaching the 2nd highest flood height on the river since records began in 1989. The Little Missouri River west of Caddo Gap rose 20 feet overnight, from 3 feet to 23.5 feet. The previous highest flood in the 22-year record at this location was just 14.66 feet, set in 2008. You can look at local rainfall amounts and river flood levels in the region using our wundermap with the "USGS River" layer turned on.

Andy Revkin at the New York Times has a blog worth reading on the disaster.

Figure 1. Radar estimated rainfall for June 9 - 11 over Southwest Arkansas. Rainfall amounts in excess of eight inches are indicated for Caddo Gap, where today's flood disaster occurred.

Oil spill update
Southeast to south winds of 10 - 15 knots will blow today through Saturday, according to the latest marine forecast from NOAA. These winds will keep oil near the shores of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and the extreme western Florida Panhandle, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. The winds become light an variable Sunday through Tuesday, which will result in little movement of the spill. The long range 8 - 16 day forecast from the GFS model indicates a continued regime of light winds, mostly out of the south or southeast. This wind regime will likely push oil onto sections of the eastern Louisiana coast during the period 1 - 2 weeks from now.

Figure 2. The oil spill as imaged on June 10, 2010, by NASA's Aqua satellite.

Oil spill resources
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
NOAA's fact sheet on Hurricanes and the Oil Spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
Oil trajectory forecasts from NOAA
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami

The tropical Atlantic is quiet right now, with no models predicting tropical cyclone development over the next seven days. I'll have a new post either Saturday or Monday.

Jeff Masters
Wicked sky
Wicked sky
Storm front pushing through jacksonville Arkansas!
flash flood russellville arkansas friday june 11th 2010
flash flood russellville arkansas friday june 11th 2010
flash flood russellville arkansas friday june 11th 2010


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.