Severe thunderstorms and deadly floods put millions at risk throughout the Midwest and Northeast United States and are on the heels of the tornadoes that hit the same part of the country.
One person died in Arkansas on Tuesday night after drowning in a flood, police told.
The victim, a 64-year-old man, had been driving a small Suzuki truck, Barling police officer James Breeden told.
Authorities said the vehicle appeared to have led to a flooded road that had been blocked. A sheriff saw a body floating in the water and attempted a rescue, Breeden said. The man’s body was located near Fort Chafee.
The floods in Arkansas are part of the severe weather that several states face across the country.
More than 39 million people are at increased risk of severe weather from northeast Texas through the Ohio Valley and to the northeast. The main threats will begin on Wednesday afternoon.
The National Weather Service issued a severe storm alert in parts of southern Iowa, northeastern Kansas, and northwestern Missouri until early Wednesday, warning of “widespread hail” reaching up to 5.1 centimeters in diameter and “bursts of rain.” damaging wind at 70 mph. “
Parts of Kansas and Missouri are also under flash flood warnings until Wednesday morning and the weather service urged residents to move to higher ground.
The service in Kansas City also said that “a tornado cannot be completely ruled out.”
Parts of Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Illinois are also at risk of thunderstorms, according to the weather service. Severe storms will continue through the northeast until Wednesday.
As storms move through the region, the concern will be flooding, the Illinois weather service said.
The threat of ‘historical’ floods
The Arkansas River is expected to grow on Wednesday afternoon at about 41 feet, Arkansas emergency management told.
“This is going to be a record across the Arkansas River and it’s something we’ve never seen before,” spokeswoman Melody Daniel said.
All installed dams have worked so far, said Daniel. Two of them have been overcome, but they have not failed.
“This is the highest the river has ever been in history,” Breeden told.
Daniel said that more than a dozen counties are expected to record historic floods. Those counties are Sebastian, Crawford, Logan, Johnson, Yell, Pope, Perry, Conway, Faulkner, Pulaski, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Desha County.
Up to 50 homes could be affected by the floods, said the city of North Little Rock on Facebook. Any significant rainfall could affect drainage problems and increase the number of homes that will be affected.
“Respect all the barricades and the closures of roads and trails,” the city published. “They are there for your protection. Do not place our lifeguards in a position that could be dangerous for you and them. “
In Ozark, Ark., The river is likely to break its record on Thursday before its crest on Friday, Guy said.
“The last crest that broke the record was in 1943,” he said. “The last time the river was so high at this location was in 1990.”
This year, at the beginning of January, floods were recorded near the area.
Further north, officials are warning of rapid increases in the lower Des Moines River in Iowa and the Fox River in northeast Missouri. Both are expected to reach the important flood stage, which could cause flooding, on Wednesday.