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Floodwaters Closing I-40 to be Monitored
Released: 5/6/2011 1:41:35 PM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Jim Petersen 1-click interview
Phone: 501-554-2996

Jennifer LaVista 1-click interview
Phone: 303-202-4764

Reporters: Access current photos of USGS flood efforts on the USGS image gallery website.

The U.S. Geological Survey is monitoring extremely high floodwaters that caused the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department to close a stretch of Interstate 40 near Des Arc, Ark.

Interstate 40 is the primary route between Little Rock and Memphis and is one of the busiest truck routes in the nation.

The USGS has installed a temporary streamgage near the road closure that will provide near real-time river levels that can be used to monitor floodwaters on the interstate. Preliminary data indicate that the water level downstream of Interstate 40 near the USGS streamgage at DeValls Bluff is 35.50 feet and rising. This is the highest stage recorded by the USGS at this location since 1927. Water levels near Interstate 40 and nearby areas are updated hourly and can be found on the USGS Arkansas Water Science Center website.

“Extensive flooding is causing us to close many highways in the state,” said Dan Flowers, Director of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD). “Working with the USGS will help us monitor the levels and get the roads back open as soon as possible.”

“The USGS funding for this temporary gage allows us to provide an immediate service to the AHTD, residents of Arkansas, and others travelling across central Arkansas,” said Jaysson Funkhouser, USGS Arkansas Water Science Center Assistant Director. “The levels we are measuring in the larger streams of eastern Arkansas are extremely unusual.”

USGS streamgage information is updated via satellite every 1 hour and can be found on the USGS Arkansas Water Science Center website in user-friendly graphs. The website also contains links to NWS flood forecasts.

For more than 125 years, the USGS has monitored flow in selected streams and rivers across the U.S. The information is routinely used for water supply and management, monitoring floods and droughts, bridge and road design, determination of flood risk, and for many recreational activities.

Access current flood and high flow conditions across the country by visiting the USGS WaterWatch website.  Receive instant, customized updates about water conditions in your area via text message or email by signing up for USGS WaterAlert.

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