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Flooding forces Jefferson Co. families to shelter | News

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Flooding forces Jefferson Co. families to shelter

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) - Flooding along the Arkansas River began forcing families out of their home Wednesday night.

Arkansas saw this amount of water back in the spring, but with the state finally moving into winter weather, residents are finding it harder to bounce back. THV11 took a boat ride withSwan Lake Fire Lt. Chuck Crain on Wednesday to see the magnitude of the flooding in that area.

"We are six foot deep here right now. Normally, there's no water here," described Lt. Crain.

Crain said that the people in the Jefferson County area learned some valuable lessons on how to respond to this kind of flooding after what happened during the months of May and June of 2015.

"Last spring, when we had that big flood, we made the big mistake of waiting till the last minute. And I was taking everybody out in my boat."

Local resident Ronnie Butler was forced to spend most of the week at the temporary shelter set up by the Red Cross at the Swan Lake Fire Department after the Arkansas River began to reach dangerous levels just outside his home.

"It's about maybe a foot and a half from being at the house. There aint nothing we can do, we just let it rise and hope for the best. Whatever happens. It's pretty bad over there, just waiting it out," said Butler.

Everyone THV11 spoke to on Wednesday said that everyone living in that area is already accustomed to the flooding, but it's the time of the year that is throwing them off.

"Normally, you don't have a winter flooding. I mean, this is unheard of," said Crain.

According to officials, it is the cold temperatures and the shorter daylight hours making it even more difficult to deal with the flooding. The Arkansas River is expected to rise at least another two feet through the coming days

• Click here for AHTD's list of current road closures in Ark. http://on.kthv.com/1YTmvCq

• Photos: Flooding in Arkansas this week http://on.kthv.com/1YThWI4

• LIST: Weather situations in Ark. 12/23 - present http://on.kthv.com/1YTsOpv

• Faulkner Co. official shares river crest time, sandbag staging areas http://on.kthv.com/1QZyY8n

• LIST: Disaster areas as declared by Gov. Hutchinson http://on.kthv.com/1OvkkVW

• LIST: Arkansas River crest dates, times http://on.kthv.com/1QZBWts