DES ARC, Ark. — Muddy water rose to the middle of front doors Monday as a historic flood crest flowed southward on the White River through communities in the state's eastern prairie.
The river, swollen by storms that devastated large parts of the Midwest, had risen about 7 feet in four days, with a crest of 33.5 feet expected this afternoon, the National Weather Service said.
Water poured into Bayou Des Arc, an area just north of the town of 1,900, damaging scattered homes and cabins.
"It's the worst," Trey Newby, 17, said as he piloted a small boat with an outboard motor through the brown water in an RV park along Bayou Des Arc. He and a friend pointed to a pole and a U.S. flag hanging partially in the water. "That's probably 10, 15 feet off the ground right there," Newby said.
A flash flood warning was in effect through this morning for communities along the White River. The Weather Service said it could be the river's largest water surge in a quarter-century.
Prairie County Sheriff Gary Burnett, 37, a lifelong resident of the area, said he had never seen the river flood so quickly.
No flood-related injuries were reported, Burnett said.
Downtown Des Arc is on a rise and was not in immediate danger.
Just south of town and beyond a levee, Rick Thompson, 38, stood looking at his flooded mobile home. He said he had no flood insurance and had yet to go inside.
"I'm going to come back with my boat and get my pictures and Bibles and things like that out of there and pray on the rest of it," Thompson said.
Last week's torrential rain in the Midwest also caused flooding in parts of Ohio, Indiana and southern Illinois, and in wide areas of Missouri. At least 17 deaths have been linked to the weather and thousands of people were evacuated, most of them in Missouri.
David Maxwell, the Arkansas emergency management director, said state and federal emergency workers would visit flood-damaged areas of the state today. Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe has declared 35 counties disaster areas.