The Miller County Office of Emergency Management has released information about Hurricane Laura. Below is the latest update.

The Office of Emergency Management in Miller County has prepared this release to be disseminated to the public for information to our citizens in the four-state region. Hurricane Laura has again been upgraded to a Category 4 Hurricane and is expected to make landfall this evening and then lift north over our area sometime Thursday morning and afternoon into Friday. Full impact is expected Thursday afternoon. Joe Bennett, the Emergency Management Director has been in contact with the National Weather Service in Shreveport today and has been advised our area is looking at about 20 mph winds around 7:00am, increasing to around 55mph at about 5:00pm and then possibly 68 mph about 10pm. We could see 50-90 mph winds in the southern portions of our area with localized flash flooding tonight and tomorrow. A Flash Flood watch is in effect from now until Friday. As mentioned before, portions of southwest and western Arkansas have been running five to ten inches above average rainfall. Flash flooding will be a concern and even as Laura moves into Arkansas, it is likely to maintain tropical storm strength which means sustained winds could topple trees since the root bases are so saturated.

OEM Director Joe Bennett said, Wind gusts may be seen up to 90 mph with sustained winds of 30-55mph. There is a possibility of 4-6 inches of rainfall depending on how fast the storm moves through our area, so flash flooding could occur between Thursday morn from 7a to Friday morn at 7am.”

There is a possibility of tornadic activity, as these storms tend to spur off tornadoes. However, that may be expected north and northeast of our area.

Bennett has been working with the Red Cross on shelter locations, but congregate shelter locations may be available only after the storm has passed. If you are in need of shelter after the storm, the Red Cross recommends calling their hotline at 1-800-REDCROSS. This will help the Red Cross know what areas need to open. The current COVID pandemic has placed restrictions on the opening of shelters. Area hotels are of personal choice but will be open and have released restrictions on out of town evacuees from Texas and Louisiana. However, it appears many who have already fled the hurricane in the south have opted for hotel rooms in Texarkana. That, coupled with electrical companies converging on Texarkana to respond to outages have booked quite a few rooms. There are two safe rooms in the city of Texarkana, AR.

The Office of Emergency Management recommends that citizens take the necessary steps to get with family members and neighbors that need assistance for placement now and not wait. Please use common sense and not wait for the storms to arrive before preparing.

Other area shelters and churches who wish to open are encouraged to contact OEM Director Joe Bennett at the below address. Other than designated Red Cross shelters, the LifeHouse Church on East St will open if needed as well as the First Baptist Church of Fouke. The Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief has offered assistance as well.

Please understand, 1st Responders cant be everywhere at the same time in the event of a disaster so take the necessary steps now to shelter in a secure location.

OEM also spoke with area school districts and have found that UAHT will be closed Thursday as well as Genoa ISD, Texarkana ISD and Hope ISD. Fouke has not yet determined when/if they will close. Bowie County superintendents were still meeting to decide.

Prepare now with access to weather information via NOAA weather radio, weather updates on TV/radio and updated social media posts.

Detailed storm information is available through the NOAA.gov website.

 

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