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White River retreats, Prairie County evacuees may see damage

White River retreats; Des Arc evacuees maybe allowed back. Cache, Bayou Deview still rising.

The retreating White River may soon reveal the extent of its rampage on the Prairie County homes and property of those forced to evacuate.

Evacuation notices were issued for Des Arc and Biscoe on May 2, following heavy rains.

“Many families displaced from their homes will have the first chance to view damage sometime over the weekend,” said Brent Griffin, Prairie County Extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. “Now the cleanup begins.”

Northeast of Griffin in Woodruff County, the White is also receding slowly, “but the Cache and Bayou Deview are coming back up,” said Eugene Terhune, Extension staff chair.  Upstream, the Cache has flooded the Jackson County communities of Grubbs and Amagon.

However, some Woodruff County farmers “are getting back in to the field in the areas that are drying out and not underwater,” saidTerhune. “A lot of rice will be planted this week and some are starting to plant soybeans.”

Further east, the Mississippi continues to hold the concern of growers in southeastern Arkansas. The Mississippi River crested at Helena on May 11 and the river was expected to crest at 53.3 feet on May 15 at Arkansas City and rise to 65 feet at Greenville, Miss., on May 16.

“The Mississippi is enormous right now,” said Wes Kirkpatrick, Extension staff chair for Desha County. Kirkpatrick had a chance to see the river from the air last weekend. “If the Mississippi gets out of the levee here, it could be disastrous.  We are all praying that the levee system holds.”

In contrast, Desha County growers on dry ground “could use a rain, though not a big one,” he said. “It’s crazy to say that, but we have not been affected by the White River flooding like those north of us.

“Our farmers have planted a lot of acres over the last week to 10 days because of the dry weather and the ability to get in the fields,” he said, adding that growers in the county had planted about 67 percent of intended crop areas in the last 10 days.

For more information on disasterrecovery, contact your county Extension office or see www.uaex.edu/news/pressroom/storm_recovery/default.

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