With the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, we wanted to give everyone a heads-up to a potential heavy rain and flooding event over the next several days. For the past few days the weather models have been indicating heavy rain across the Arkansas and Red River basins through the end of next week. The models have been moving the areas of heaviest rainfall around with each iteration so confidence on the exact locations is not high. The latest seven day rain forecast shows widespread 2 to 5+ inches over the eastern half of the ABRFC, with a 7+ inch bulls-eye just south of our area in northeast Texas.
There is rain forecast each day, but currently the days with the highest daily (up to 2+ inches) totals are today (Friday), Monday, and Tuesday.
Because of the recent rain, soil moisture, as indicated by our river forecasting model, is generally above normal over the eastern half of the basin.
When we incorporate this forecast rainfall into our river model, it generally shows only minor flooding, especially on the rivers in southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma. The model also indicates bankfull rises on several of the tributaries of the Red River in southern Oklahoma. Because of the uncertainty in the exact area of higher rainfall, it is a little early to pinpoint exact rivers and how high they might get. Also, note that due to the nature of the storms, some areas could receive more rain than currently forecast (and some may receive less.)
According to the Tulsa District of the US Army Corps of Engineers' website, the Arkansas River system is currently utilizing 17% of the total flood storage capacity, so there is space available to capture any excess runoff upstream and help prevent flooding downstream of their reservoirs.
The ABRFC uses 24 hours of forecast rainfall in our official river forecasts. Because of this and the expectation of rainfall each day, please monitor our website and the local National Weather Service Forecast Offices' websites routinely to stay aware of the situation.
For the latest river and weather forecasts, visit the ABRFC and National Weather Service Forecast Offices' web pages.
NWS ABRFC: https://www.weather.gov/abrfc
NWS Tulsa: https://www.weather.gov/tsa
NWS Springfield MO: https://www.weather.gov/sgf
NWS Wichita: https://www.weather.gov/ict
NWS Topeka: https://www.weather.gov/top
NWS Norman: https://www.weather.gov/oun
NWS Little Rock: https://www.weather.gov/lzk
NWS Shreveport: https://www.weather.gov/shv
NWS Fort Worth: https://www.weather.gov/fwd
Tulsa District, US Army Corps of Engineers: http://www.swt-wc.usace.army.mil
Little Rock District, US Army Corps of Engineers: http://www.swl-wc.usace.army.mil
NWS WPC Forecast Precipitation: https://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/#qpf
Please do not hesitate to contact the ABRFC at 918 832-4109 if you have any questions. Also, if you would like to be removed from these types of emails or know of additional persons who might like receive these emails, please let me know.
Service Coordination Hydrologist
Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast Center
National Weather Service