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story.lead_photo.caption This photograph taken by the National Weather Service's Memphis office shows tornado damage in the Keiser area.

Highways across Arkansas remained flooded Sunday as the National Weather Service reported the state is expected to see another two rounds of rainfall later this week.

Strong winds and rainfall battered the state on Saturday, storms that led to flooded roads, power failures and the death of a man who used a wheelchair. The man drowned after his trailer home was blown into a pond, authorities reported.

A tornado also caused damage in Keiser in Mississippi County, where hundreds were still without power Sunday evening, officials said.

Arkansas is expected to see dry conditions today, but the forecast calls for rainfall Tuesday night and Wednesday, said Chris Buonanno, a science and operations officer at the National Weather Service in North Little Rock.

The rainfall Tuesday night could bring another 2 to 3 inches of rain -- precipitation that will be heaviest in the southern part of the state, he said.

Another round of rainfall is expected to arrive Wednesday, he said. That system could bring severe weather, such as hail, strong winds and isolated tornadoes, Buonanno said.

Like Tuesday's expected rainfall, the Wednesday weather system will be heaviest in the southern half of the state.

Many areas of Arkansas have seen two to three times the normal amount of rain over the past 30 days, with most of the precipitation coming over the past week, Buonanno said. Most of the state received 5 inches of rain last week, while some parts in central Arkansas saw 10 to 15 inches of rainfall, he said.

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Photos by The National Weather Service

The National Weather Service said a pair of tornadoes touched down in northeast Arkansas on Saturday, killing one person and causing significant damage.

The agency said an EF-1 tornado had winds up to 90 mph when it touched down southwest of Keiser, where it "damaged many homes and buildings."

That tornado then traveled northeast, crossing Interstate 55 and causing one minor injury near Osceola.

An EF-2 tornado with winds up to 115 mph, meanwhile, touched down near Knobel and continued into Missouri, the weather service said. One person was killed near Knobel when the trailer home he was in was blown into a pond.

On Saturday alone, Little Rock, Monticello, Mountain Home and Jonesboro all saw 1 to 2 inches of rain, according to the service.

In Clay County over the weekend, a trailer home in the 4600 block of Arkansas 90 was blown into a pond, according to Clay County Sheriff Terry Miller. The sheriff said 83-year-old Albert Charles Foster, who used a wheelchair, was in the home and drowned after being unable to get out of the structure.

Miller did not report any other fatalities.

While other cities dealt with flooded roads, the small town of Keiser in northeast Arkansas dealt with the aftermath of an EF-1 tornado.

The storm blew out windows, ripped off roofs and brought down trees in Keiser, said Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook.

The National Weather Service confirmed Sunday that the storm damage was related to a tornado. An EF-1 storm is the second-lowest on the Enhanced Fujita scale, characterized by winds from 86-110 miles per hour.

On Sunday, Cook said hundreds of people showed up to help with the recovery efforts, clearing the streets of tree debris and trying to restore power.

"Communities all come together when they have problem like that," he said.

The severe weather caused major damage to the Rodeway Inn near Interstate 55 in Osceola, Cook reported.

Five Arkansas counties -- Chicot, Clark, Lee, Randolph and White counties -- have declared emergencies, and more than 40 counties in total have reported damage, said Department of Emergency Management spokesman Dan Noble on Sunday.

"We are always monitoring the situation at a state level," he said.

Alison Melson, a spokesman for Entergy Arkansas, said about 8,000 people lost power because of the storms. As of 6:30 p.m. Sunday, she said that figure had dropped to 288 people. She said 256 of those people were in Mississippi County, where the Saturday tornado hit.

As of Sunday evening, segments of more than two dozen state highways were shut down because of high water.

The heavy rain and high water has also led once-patched potholes to be re-exposed, said Danny Straessle, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Transportation. The water seeps into the pothole and loosens up asphalt laid to patch the hole, he said.

The department had repair crews on call Sunday and will have a long list of potholes to get to today, he said.

Information for this report was provided by Emma Pettit of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Photo by Thomas Metthe
Geese float across a flooded portion of Redmond Road near Dupree Park in Jacksonville on Sunday. Dupree Park was almost completely covered with water from the flooding.
Photo by Thomas Metthe
Jeremy George hits a golf ball into the flooded driving range at Golf World on Sunday in Little Rock. “Golfers are usually taught to avoid the water,” said George with a chuckle. Billy Akins, manager of Golf World, said the water was “about a foot” from going over the levee of neighboring Fourche Creek.

Metro on 02/26/2018

Print Headline: Storms leave flooded roads around state

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