Residents in parts of Arkansas were preparing for what meteorologists on Sunday predicted will be the worst flooding in recorded history along parts of the Arkansas River over the coming week, the AP reports. The National Weather Service said in the statement that levee "over topping" is likely with "significant impacts to life and property across a very large area." The Arkansas River reached 38.2 feet on Sunday near Fort Smith, Arkansas, surpassing the historic crest of 38.1 feet in April 1945. Spokeswoman Karen Santos said the city of 80,000 residents that's on the border with Oklahoma was in "preparedness and warning mode." She said one home was completely submerged and about 500 homes either have water very close or in them.
Authorities predict hundreds more homes and businesses will flood by the time the river crests there Tuesday at 42.5 feet. Across the river from Fort Smith, the tiny town of Moffett, Oklahoma, population about 120, was submerged by Saturday afternoon, an official said. In downtown Van Buren, Arkansas, just northeast of Fort Smith, Rickey Jones, co-owner of BrokenJoe's Screen Printing, was among several business owners who put sandbags in front of their entrances. "We're going to be stacking things as high as we can in here, taking out electronics and helping out our neighbors," Jones said. On Sunday afternoon, a National Guard helicopter was sent to rescue two Army Corps of Engineers workers trapped in a building as the Arkansas River rose, and several roads have been closed due to high water. (Two runaway barges caused a scare this week on the swollen Arkansas River.)