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3 years later: What Arkansas officials learned from historic flooding

In 2019, Arkansas saw historic flooding throughout the entire state, but now cities are more prepared than ever in the case that it happens again.

CONWAY, Ark — In 2019, Arkansas saw flooding they had never seen in 100 years. The waters damaged homes and tested our levees like never before.

Now, city leaders revisit the historic event to learn from the past.

"I really hope I don't ever see a 2019 flooding again," said Faulkner County Judge Jim Baker.

Judge Baker was one of the leaders when Conway was hit with the massive flood waters.

Homes were damaged and parks were underwater. When they thought the worst was over, Conway city leaders discovered the Lollie Levee had caved in whcih caused them to scramble and act before it breached.

All the levees damaged have been repaired now, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Three years after the historic flooding, Arkansas has learned a lot about flood protection-- starting with the levees.

There are 115 levees in the state, with the average age of them being 72 years old.

The governor's Levy Taskforce was created in response to the disaster. They still meet and are creating a plan for future leaders.

"...pass to the next administration and there forth and forward to make sure we are always moving to improve the flood protection in our state," said Col. Eric Noe with Army Corps of Engineers.

The Army Corps of Engineers and Arkansas leaders still meet often to prepare for flooding. In fact, the most recent conversation with the city of Conway was this week to discuss other problem areas that could be improved.

But the greatest thing Judge Baker said came out of this disaster was the team work from all agencies statewide to provide response quickly to those impacted by the rising waters-- that teamwork is still strong today.

"It's helped us keep the lines of communication open, and establish those lines of communication," said Judge Baker.

Arkansas has spent more than $130 million of federal money given to the state during the emergency.

The city of Conway said they are discussing using some CARES Act funds for flood protection.

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