May has to have been one of the wettest months we’ve seen in the 35 years we’ve lived in Arkansas.  I think we’ve received between 15 to 20 inches overall.  Fortunately, it’s been spread out enough that flooding hasn’t been a significant issue in our part of the state, except widespread flooding in many areas along the Arkansas River.

Most of the water currently flowing through the river is from recent very heavy rain in Oklahoma and western Arkansas.  Several Oklahoma dams that have been holding back water in their reservoirs to limit downstream flooding are at capacity and have had to start releasing the excess flowing in.

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At Dardanelle Lock and Dam, the river has been roaring at around 360,000 cubic feet per minute for days, over 7 times its normal flow.

Dardaneell Lock and Dam from Google Earth

Dardanelle Lock and Dam is part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.  The normal difference in elevation between the pool above the dam – Lake Dardanelle – and the downstream pool is 54 feet (16 meters), the highest in the system.


We’ve been over to view the river three times in the last week, including the south riverbank, just downstream of the dam.  The flow through the spillways results in massive churning of the water and waves that carry river debris to the bank.

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arkansas, lake, photography, places, river, stream

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  • Rummuser May 31, 2015

    You might have seen photographs in my blog, of our neighbourhood river in spate whenever we have excess to normal monsoon rains and the dams upriver release stored water. Your photographs are very like that. We sure can use some floods urgently here!
    Rummuser recently posted…A First After 25 Years.My Profile

  • Eddie Jun 1, 2015

    How does the flood waters compare to the flood of the 1980s?

    • Mike Jun 1, 2015

      There is a new crest tomorrow that may be in the top 10 for Dardanelle. There were actually two floods in the 80s that made the top ten historical floods at Dardanelle:

      #7 — 40.02 ft on 12/03/1982. This was the one where Skibo’s house flooded during 1R5 and he still made it in to work. It rained for days, it seemed and fuel movement was halted for extended periods due to tornado watches. I was in RO class, but at the plant for refueling.

      #8 — 38.00 ft on 10/10/1986

      #9 — 37.00 ft on 05/12/2015. This week, one crest was at least 37.42 ft and at 7 PM tonight it was at 37 ft rising to a new crest tomorrow, currently predicted at 38.4 ft.
      Mike recently posted…Milky Way Over Lake McDonaldMy Profile

  • Cheerful Monk Jun 1, 2015

    We’ve been getting a bit of welcome rain here — not too much so far. We’ll have to see what happens to the roads during the rainy season.

    Good luck there! And good luck to India and California.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted…Sammy’s Home AgainMy Profile

  • Alan G Jun 2, 2015

    Being quite familiar with the locks and dams as you are, that last photograph in your series is the one most intimidating and scary to me. You can just sense the awesome power locked up in that water given the height of the river… 😕

    • Mike Jun 4, 2015

      Yes, there is a tremendous amount of energy in all that water. I’m just glad we didn’t get the torrential rains that produced all that water — I feel for those who have been impacted by the floods.
      Mike recently posted…Milky Way Over Lake McDonaldMy Profile

  • Hilary Jun 4, 2015

    Hi Mike – I’m glad all is well with you and there has been no major flooding … the floods we saw reported were pretty terrible. Our big river is now the English Channel .. and even that floods at the wrong/right times when the oceans have the challenging conditions. It’s frightening … but the main thing is you’re safe .. cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted…Blog Sandwich Update 5 … Sharon; Bomber Command Memorial Eastbourne; Canterbury Cathedral’s Ancestor’s Medieval Windows and some food …My Profile

    • Mike Jun 4, 2015

      Our weather is turning to summer now — and for us, that means hot to very hot and humid to very humid. It’d be nice not to have a normal summer — cooler would be great. 😉
      Mike recently posted…Milky Way Over Lake McDonaldMy Profile

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