photo of the week

46 Feet and Rising

Our viewpoint takes us under the north side of the US Highway 79 Arkansas River bridge at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, early in the afternoon of January 2.  The waters are rushing by at 46.09 feet.  Just a tad over 24 hours later, the river crested at 46.24 feet.  The numbers on the pier do not indicate river depth.  They tell river pilots the distance from the surface of the water to the bottom of the bridge structure.

Flood Waters

Sunday, January 3, 2016
Pine Buff, Arkansas

The Arkansas River crested at 45.96 feet at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on June 4, 2015.  Hundreds of families were forced from their homes in the city and Jefferson County.  When the water receded, it left reminders of its presence — personified in mud-filled floors, obnoxious flotsam, displaced wildlife, and other untoward phenomena.


This video was shot at the water's edge under the US 79 bridge over the Arkansas River at Pine Bluff.  The panning is a bit rough since I had the wrong head for the tripod, but you get the drift.  The level was 45.09 feet.  Flood stage is 42 feet.

Though this flood was not the highest in the history of the locale, it was the tallest in recent history.  When the waters returned to normal and the cleanup began, victims of the disaster were relieved that such an event was in the past — with expectations that a similar event was in the far-distant future.

Those expectations were dashed to smithereens the last week of December 2015, when the river began fill with the aftermath of torrential rains across parts of the nation that drain into the Arkansas River.  By the 31st of December, waters were lapping at familiar locations and on January 3, the river crested at 46.24 feet, just a tad taller than the mega-sloshing experienced in June.



Back in the city, the waters were also high at Saracen Lake.

Now, as the waters creep downward to normalcy, folks are thinking about their previous dashed expectations and saying “surely not.”  We hope so.


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