Flood Plain Information

Determine if your property is located in an area subject to flooding.  A property located within a flood zone doesn’t necessarily have flooding problems.  Upon request, the Building Department at (870) 246-1818, will make free flood zone determinations for properties within the City.  FEMA maps are also available in the Clark County Public Library.  If located in an “A” zone, your property is within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) which is an area that has been determined to have the potential for flooding caused by a 100-year flood.  The Building Department also maintains elevation certificates for many properties within the city that are available for review.

The gateway to hydrologic forecasts and information is entered at http://water.weather.gov or through the NWS home page (http://www.weather.gov) by clicking on the RIVERS, LAKES, RAINFALL link above the map.  Secondly, you can click on the local hydrology page.  Here you will find quick river monitoring data, river/lake data and rainfall, river forecasts and hydrographs, and flood warnings.

On the left side of the page, under the heading AHPS (Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service) Documentation, there is a link to the user’s manual published by NOAA’s (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s) National Weather Service.

Briefly, you can select river observations and forecasts nationally or regionally. 

National Map – River Observations and River Forecasts Tabs 
The starting point for obtaining NWS hydrologic products on the web is a national map showing locations where observations are available for river/stream gaging station (Figure 1). Above the national map, there are two rows of tabs. To access non-water related information, select tabs along the top row that are to the immediate left or right of the Water tab. The bottom row of tabs link to a specific map or menu and include River Observations (default), River Forecasts, Precipitation, River Download, and Other Information. The displays and other information available under these five tabs are discussed in this and other sections to follow. When either the River Observations (default) or River Forecasts tabs above the national map are clicked, river/stream locations are displayed which are color-coded according to the flood status of their most recent observation or the maximum forecast through the entire period.

Regional Maps: River Observations and River Forecast Tabs 
Clicking on a point on the National River Observations or River Forecasts map brings up a regional map covering an individual NWS weather forecast office’s (WFO) area of hydrologic responsibility (known as a hydrologic service area, or HSA) plus the surrounding area (Figure 2). Click here to view the current version of the HSA map shown in Figure 2. Most HSA maps cover all or portions of two or more states. For larger states, the map may cover only a portion of one state.
To the right of the National River Observations or River Forecasts maps, pull-down menus can be used to display river/stream locations across four types of regions. These regions include states, NWS weather forecast office HSAs, NWS River Forecast Center (RFC) areas of responsibility, and USGS water resource regions.

Flooding is not covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.  Renter’s insurance does not cover flood claims.  A separate flood insurance policy is required to cover damages incurred by flooding.  Coverage is available for the building as well as for the contents of the building.  The City of Arkadelphia participates in the Community Rating System (CRS) and in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which makes available federally backed flood insurance for all structures, whether or not they are located within the floodplain.  There is a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect.   The discount for our current CRS Class 8 rating entitles residents in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) to a 10 percent discount on their flood insurance premiums and 5 percent for non-SFHA residences.

Residents are encouraged to assist in maintaining the drainage in their areas by removing or reporting obstructions (such as shopping carts, leaves debris, trash, etc.).  Keeping drainage channels free of obstructions reduces flooding in the event of heavy rains.  Per Arkadelphia Municipal Code Section 5.08.01 F. (O-2002-03), it is illegal to dump trash, leaves, landscape debris, paint, grease, or any other material into any portion of the city’s drainage system.  Such dumping can have devastating impacts on water quality in addition to causing flooding.  To report obstructions or illegal dumping, please contact the Building Department at (870) 246-1818.  For questions regarding drainage system maintenance, please contact the Street Department at (870) 246-1802.

Arkadelphia Code of Ordinances

Per the city’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance and Code [Arkadelphia Municipal Code Sections 14.08.01 – 14.08.11(O-2012-01)], all development within a Special Flood Hazard Area requires a permit.  The NFIP requires that if the cost of reconstruction, addition, or other improvements a building equals or exceeds 50% of the building’s market value (substantial improvement) then the building must meet the same construction requirements as a new building.  Substantially-damaged buildings must also be brought up with the same standards.  For example, if the cost of repairs for a damaged residence equals or exceeds 50% of the building’s value before it was damaged, it must be elevated above the base flood elevation. 

Arkadelphia Code of Ordinances

If your property is in imminent danger of flooding, please contact Entergy at (800) 368-3749 to request that your power be shut off, or for guidance on how to do it yourself.  Please contact Centerpoint Energy at (800) 992-7552 to request that your natural gas be shut off, or for guidance on how to do it yourself.  These numbers may also be contacted for any other electrical or natural gas emergencies.  Develop an evacuation plan for your family including essential supplies.  If dangerous flooding conditions are imminent, avoid driving a vehicle if possible.  Do not attempt to drive or wade through deep pockets of water or running washes/washouts.  Turn around, do not drown.  Unstable banks should be avoided.  Avoid low lying areas; Seek shelter in the highest areas possible.

Various methods may be used to minimize flooding.  If the floor level of your property or outside machinery such as HVAC units is lower than the “Base Flood Elevation” (elevation of the 100-year flood based on the FEMA maps) consider elevating your structure.  Brochures discussing flood proofing and other mitigation measures are available in the Clark County Library, in our online library collection, or by following links to Fema.gov and Floodsmart.gov websites listed below. Link to: Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding.

If flooding is imminent, the property can be protected by sandbagging areas subject to the entry of water into living spaces.  Valuables and furniture may also be moved to higher areas of the dwelling to minimize damages.  The City of Arkadelphia will make visits to provide one-on-one advice to a property owner regarding flooding and drainage issues on private property. We may be reached at (870) 246-1818.

Floodplains are a natural component of the City of Arkadelphia environment.  Understanding and protecting the natural functions of floodplains helps reduce flood damage and protect resources.  When flooding spreads out across the floodplain its energy is dissipated, which results in lower flood flows downstream, reduced erosion of the stream bank and channel, deposition of sediments higher in the watershed and improved groundwater recharge.  Floodplains are scenic, valued wildlife habitat, and suitable for farming.  Poorly planned development in floodplains can lead to streambank erosion, loss of valuable property, increased risk of flooding to downstream properties and degradation of water quality.

Above the Flood: Elevating Your Floodprone House, FEMA P347 (2000)

Answers to Questions About the National Flood Insurance Program, F-084 (2011)

Elevated Residential Structures, FEMA-54 (1984)

Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards, FEMA P-85 (2009)

Protecting Building Utilities from Flood Damage, FEMA P-348 (1999)

Protecting Floodplain Resources, FEMA-268 (1996)

Reducing Damage from Localized Flooding, FEMA-511 (2005)