Fox News Weather Center

Arkansas, Texas Rivers Reach Major Flood Stages After Heavy May Rain

Even though the tremendous rains have come and gone, flooding will continue on the major rivers in the South Central states for the next couple of weeks.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews, "Moderate to major flooding will occur on unprotected areas along the Red, Arkansas, Trinity, Nueces and other rivers in the region through the first half of June."

The ongoing river flooding in June follows deadly flash flooding caused by 1-2 feet of rain in parts Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana and Arkansas during May.

Levees and dams are helping to contain the water, but unprotected areas such as ranches and some low-lying communities are at risk and will continue to be at risk until waters fall below flood stage later in the month.

Most record-flooding events on the rivers occurred in the 1800s or early 1900s, prior to the installment of dams and levees.

As water levels rise, dam operators must release water at controlled rates to mitigate the impact of upstream and downstream flooding. Even with the complex system, some flooding along the major rivers is unavoidable.

"Many of the major rivers in the region are low gradient, so flood crests will continue to work their way downstream for another one to perhaps two weeks," Andrews said.

Following a crest, water levels on some rivers may remain above flood stage for days and perhaps weeks.

The high water and strong flows occurring on the rivers could be a problem for barge transportation on the Arkansas and Red rivers.

The Trinity River at Dallas was at major flood stage for several days at the end of May into the start of June. Waters are forecast to slowly recede at Dallas with the assistance of little or no rainfall in the coming week.

The Red River at Shreveport and Bossier City, Louisiana, is forecast by National Weather Service hydrologists to reach 34 feet, which is major flood stage during the latter part of this week and remain there through this weekend. Flooding of unprotected areas begins when water levels reach 23 feet.

Major flooding of the Arkansas River at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, will continue through the end of the week. Expected water levels may require evacuations of low-lying neighborhoods.

AccuWeather meteorologists expect the drier weather pattern that began around June 1 to continue into the second week of the month. However, toward the middle of the month the pattern may turn somewhat more active in terms of showers and thunderstorms.

Whether or not enough rain will again fall to bring renewed river flooding is uncertain due to the high water levels beginning the summer.