MAYFLOWER, Ark. – Homeowners on Lake Conway are closely watching the weather – as even a few inches more of rain could lead to flooding.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission issued a flood warning to Mayflower residents Wednesday, warning that the lake could rise to dangerous levels if the rain doesn’t let up.
According to the Game and Fish Commission, flood levels happen at 3 feet above average. At last count, the lake was 2 feet above and rising half an inch an hour.
With rain still in the forecast, many are worried the water will keep rolling in and are watching the dam for clues.
Mayflower has been Sandy Sturgeon’s home for decades. Being so close to the lake, flooding is a usual occurrence for neighbors.
Sturgeon remembers a major area flood two years ago, where water covered entire roadways and almost entered her home.
“We had to leave our vehicles down the road so we could go to them,” Sturgeon remembers.
What’s happening now isn’t anywhere close to that depth, but it could get worse.
Randy Zellers with Arkansas Game and Fish says the Lake Conway dam is doing all it can, dumping water into a spillway that could also threaten homes if not kept in balance.
“Right now it’s ok,” Zellers said, “the rise has slowed. But we’re expecting more rain tonight.”
The dam and spillway are monitored by an AGFC biologist who keeps the water levels in check 24/7.
“He was out here in the middle of the night last night, opening up every gate to the dam,” Zellers explained, a task that needs to be done by hand.
But the possibility of flooding increases with each raindrop. Some homes near the dam already have their decks underwater. Residents are warned to be careful.
“It will move through the system within a day or so,” Zellers advised, “it’s not like it’s going to be a prolonged thing. But that flood can cause some damage.”