Tuesday, December 01, 2015

TOP STORY >> Heavy downpour over

Leader staff writer

Jacksonville’s Dupree Park was under six to eight inches of rain earlier this week and is still flooded in many portions as about six inches of rain fell in the area Friday through Monday.

The possibility of flooding will continue throughout this week, according to the National Weather Service.

The four-day soaker helped make November the third wettest in the 120 years of record keeping, with total precipitation coming in at 11.27 inches.

That’s still a solid three inches under the record-setting wet November of 2011.

But the rain didn’t seem to put a damper on local shoppers as store parking lots were full.

Sherwood Mayor Virginia Young said, “We are definitely saturated, but problems were minimal. Our sewer plant, which in some past rains has had some issues, did real well.”

She also said she was glad the storm moved out Monday for the lighting of the city’s Trail of Lights. “It was misting some, but not bad.”

Young expects a record turnout this year for the mile-long Trail of Lights, at Sherwood Forest, off Maryland Avenue, which will operate every evening from 6 to 9:30 through Dec. 30.

Bill Cypert, Cabot’s mayor, said the city had no issues, “But we’ve invested heavily in expensive long-term projects to curb flooding problems.”

He said two 100-year rain events in 2011 showed the city had some problems.

“We’ve worked diligently since,” Cypert said, adding that the projects are working. “We’ve had four more major rain events in 2015 and no issues.”

The area saw rain 14 days during this November, and, for the year, the area is five inches above the normal average, thanks to the November rains and the May rains that made May the second wettest May ever.

In between, it was dry. So dry that by Oct. 20 the southern half of the state, including Pulaski and Lonoke counties, were in a moderate to severe drought and 61 out of 75 counties had burn bans.

That changed with a 3-inch deluge Nov. 17 and then the recent four-day wet span.

The winter outlook, according to the weather service, is mild and wet thanks to it being an El Niño year, meaning more snow, but less ice to deal with.