LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Governor Asa Hutchinson toured Randolph, Sharp and Lawrence counties on Tuesday to survey areas damaged by extensive flooding.
Flooding in Lawrence County. Local responders are doing a great job. State Police, ADEM and National Guard providing support for NEA. pic.twitter.com/es2mYLLtUj— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) May 2, 2017
Gov. Hutchinson and A.J. Gary, director of the Department of Emergency Management, encouraged residents of flooded towns to heed orders to evacuate for their own safety and so that they do not put first responders at further risk.
In Randolph County where the 5 rivers are flooding Pocahontas. Here is a pic of Walmart from the air. Mandatory evac for part of city.. pic.twitter.com/ZwYkewe00V— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) May 2, 2017
“There is no reason to put first responders in danger,” Director Gary said during a press conference Tuesday morning in Pocahontas. “We can’t stress enough the importance for people to evacuate.”
Gov. Hutchinson held the press conference at Fire Station #4 in Pocahontas after he surveyed the massive storm damage in Randolph, Sharp and Lawrence counties. Pocahontas Mayor Kary Story also addressed reporters.
At least seven people have died as a result of the storms, including Fire Chief Doug Deckard of Cove Creek Pearson Fire Department. Governor Hutchinson ordered state flags to half-staff in Chief Deckard’s honor.
Mayor Story stressed the risk that sightseers pose to “people engaged in protecting property and lives.”
Gov. Hutchinson addressed the danger of water-covered highways. “When you see a road with water crossing it, turn around,” the governor said. “Don’t think it’s not rising. Don’t think you can make it through in a car.”
Governor Hutchinson Tours Storm Damage
Gov. Hutchinson issued the following statement:
“I applaud local officials and first responders who continue working to aid those affected by the flooding and storm damage. My survey of the storm damage in Randolph, Sharp and Lawrence counties further clarified the steps we must take to ensure the safety of our citizens and the protection of property as floodwaters continue to rise, and as we anticipate more rain in the next few days."
“This is why I have declared a state of emergency for Arkansas in response to the heavy rain and flooding throughout the state. The safety of Arkansans is my utmost concern."
“I also want to express my appreciation to the Department of Emergency Management, Arkansas National Guard, the Arkansas State Police Mobile Incident Command Center and the Department of Correction, all of which have done an extraordinary job assisting in emergency response this week. I encourage all Arkansans to use caution as floodwaters continue to be an issue throughout much of the state.”