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Reported by: Pete Thompson, KARK 4 News
Friday, Sep 12, 2008 @04:45pm CST

4:45 p.m. - Hurricane Ike Raises Flood Concerns         View Video Clip
The year 2008 has so far brought heavy rains, tornadoes....and some of the worst flooding the state has ever seen.

Now with Hurricane Ike swirling in the gulf, hydrologists with the U.S. Geological Survey say they're bracing for more of the same.

"The immediate flooding is going to be in the small basins, in the more hilly regions of the state," says hydrologist Jim Petersen.

Hurricane Ike is expected to bring in three to six inches of rain when it moves over Arkansas as a tropical storm...

A number that's not overwhelming... but the problem is...the ground is already saturated with rain from Hurricane Gustav 10 days ago.

"In most cases the soil is pretty wet... We just don't need rain on top of that," says Petersen.

That's why hydrologists will be constantly monitoring flood gauges around the state this weekend.

Six weeks ago, they installed a one-hundred thousand dollar flood warning system in Hot Springs designed to alert authorities when water levels get too high.

This weekend that area that could be a trouble spot.

"Our system won't stop the flooding but it gives those people time to prepare," says hydrologist Bob Blanchard.

And preparations do need to be made...the heavy rain will likely come with high powered winds.

The U.S. Geological Survey now has a website set up... where you can check on the flood levels in your area.

The information there is updated every hour... and in major events, the flood guages will update every 5 to 10 minutes.

You can check flood levels in your area at the website http://ar.water.usgs.gov/ and click on real-time data.
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