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President approves emergency disaster declaration for state as Laura begins Arkansas visit

The remnants of Hurricane Laura are headed this way.

White River Now’s Gary Bridgman spoke Thursday morning with Dylan Cooper, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service out of Little Rock, and Cooper says, while the storm is still a dangerous one, Laura’s strength in our neck of the woods should not be as devastating as what the southwestern part of the state will receive.

In fact, forecasters say north central Arkansas might not receive as much rainfall as originally expected.

Cooper says the rain should start late Thursday afternoon and continue through the night until early Friday morning. And Batesville will now likely receive only 2 to 4 inches of precipitation from the storm instead of the original 4 to 6 inches previously forecast.

Sustained winds of 25 to 30 m.p.h. are expected, with some gusts possibly reaching 40 m.p.h., Cooper says. The rain could still likely cause some flooding issues. And isolated tornadoes are also possible, the meteorologist tells Gary B.

Cooper says when Laura hits central Arkansas, it will likely pivot to the east and move toward Tennessee.


The Associated Press is reporting at least four deaths in Louisiana as of Thursday afternoon in connection with Hurricane Laura making landfall. The storm is currently thrashing parts of southern Arkansas with powerful winds and heavy rainfall as Laura lunges its way through the state after battering the Louisiana Gulf Coast.

Downed trees and structural damage were reported in some parts of Arkansas at midday Thursday, and more than 30,000 homes and businesses in the state were without electricity.


And FEMA announced Thursday that federal emergency aid has been made available to the state of Arkansas to supplement state and local response efforts to the emergency conditions in the area affected by Hurricane Laura, as of Aug. 26 and continuing.

FEMA says President Donald Trump’s action authorizes the agency “…to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized by Title V of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, to save lives; to protect property, public health, and safety; and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe.”

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance under the Public Assistance program, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding. This federal assistance is for all counties in Arkansas, FEMA notes.

White River Now News Team

Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLEOutlaw 106.5, and yourfm 99.5. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

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