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Arkansas River water levels concerning for Memorial Day activities, officials warn

As we get into the Memorial Day weekend, Arkansas officials are sharing safety tips ahead of the holiday.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As we get into the Memorial Day weekend, Arkansas officials are sharing safety tips ahead of the holiday.

"I would not recommend the Arkansas River as a place to go have some boating recreation this weekend," Trey Reid with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said.

Arkansas Game and Fish is one of several organizations urging caution ahead of the holiday weekend.

"Yeah, the Arkansas River is one body of water that's still pretty high," Reid said.

It's one spot you may want to avoid if you plan to head out this weekend.

Jay Townsend works for the Army Corps of Engineers and says the current water levels are too dangerous for most people.

"You could see the rivers rise in our area," he said. "Right now, if we didn't receive another drop of rain, we'd watch the river fall below 70,000 cubic feet per second, where we generally think it's safe for pleasure crafts to be out."

Where we actually are, though, is much more dangerous for the boats you'd normally see floating down the river.

"We're at a hundred fifteen, hundred twenty thousand cubic feet per second, it what it's been running the last few days," Reid said. "Small craft advisories go out from the corps of engineers at seventy thousand, so it's significantly higher than that."

That means staying safe is even more important right now.

"The flow rate is much faster, so the velocity of the water is gonna be higher, there's gonna be debris in there," Reid said.

But there are plenty of other waterways to enjoy, Townsend said.

"Some of those streams and creeks might be a little high this weekend, so head to one of the lakes where the water level is a little more stable," he said.

And if that's something you do plan on doing, there are a couple of easy ways to stay safe before you head out.

Let people know where you're headed, check all of your equipment, and stay alert.

"Again, prepare, file a float plan, let people know where you're going to be," Reid said. "Just be safe out there and have a good time."