Flash flooding possible through Wednesday in Fayetteville

Scull Creek trail was left completely impassable in many areas after the April 2011 flood, including this section near Appleby Road in Fayetteville.

City of Fayetteville, Transportation staff

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch through Wednesday morning for parts of Northwest Arkansas including Washington County.

Weather radar map as of 5 p.m., Monday evening.

WunderMap, wunderground.com

The “significant and life-threatening heavy rainfall event” could bring between four and eight inches of rain, with isolated areas predicted to receive up to 15 inches.

According to wunderground.com, “widespread and potentially catastrophic areal flooding and river flooding would result should these amounts materialize.”

As a result, city officials are urging residents to be aware of flood hazards, especially in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam. “Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood,” said Lindsley Smith, the city’s communication director.

In a statement released Monday, Fayetteville Police Chief Greg Tabor reminded motorists to prepare for driving in rainy conditions and encouraged driver caution in an effort to avoid potential crashes. “Never drive through moving water,” said Tabor. “It only takes a few inches of water to sweep away a vehicle.”

Fayetteville officials released the following tips Monday afternoon:

In the event of a flood

  • Move to higher ground.
  • During rainstorms, stay away from trees, which may attract lightning.
  • Avoid fast-flowing water, even if you are in a vehicle.
  • Do not walk in flooded areas (water depth is not always obvious), avoid trails under water.
  • Do not use and avoid electrical devices in the rain or in flooding conditions.
  • Remain cautious of high water at night, as darkness may hide other hazards.
  • Monitor weather updates, such as regularly checking Fayetteville’s weather status with NOAA.

Tips for motorists

  • Allow a safe driving distance, at least three seconds of space between vehicles.
  • Slow down. The faster you drive, the greater your chance of hydroplaning. Allow additional travel time.
  • Make sure windshield wipers are in proper working order and if you are using your windshield wipers, Arkansas State Law requires you to turn on your headlights.
  • Don’t drive into areas of standing or fast-running water.
  • Give 100 percent attention to driving. Inattention is a common contributor to crashes.