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Water surrounds homes in St. Francis County, closes roads

ST. FRANCIS COUNTY, Ark. — As the St. Francis River creeps closer to cresting, several roads are underwater and some people are using boats to get around after their homes were cut off from dry land.

Gerry Waddell lives on Highway 50 just east of Madison in St. Francis County. His home and several of his neighbors' homes were only accessible by boat Friday afternoon.

He's been watching all week with his wife, his two kids and his four dogs as the water edges closer and closer to the house and now plans to evacuate since he fears the water could go inside his home.

"I don’t want to wake up with cold feet. I’m gonna get up out of here while I got a chance," he said.

By the looks of it, several of Waddell's neighbors have already left.

The county has closed a portion of Highway 50 between Madison and Widener as the nearby St. Francis River spills over its banks. By 3 p.m. Friday, it was about three-and-a-half feet above flood stage. The National Weather Service estimates it will crest at just under four feet above flood stage Sunday at noon.

“I don’t think it’s gonna get much worse than what it is, but this is about as worse as you’ll ever see it," said Widener resident Ronald Barnett.

Further north near the Cross County line, trees and street signs peeked out from the floodwaters Friday afternoon. County Road 433 had disappeared underneath the water.

After a little more than a year of tolerating the occasional high water, Waddell says he's about to do his own disappearing act — he's leaving for good.

"There’s no future here, as you can see. I mean, don’t nobody want to wade water the rest of their life. I know I don’t," Waddell said.

The L'Anguille River in western St. Francis County is also rising, but it's nowhere near as high as the St. Francis River.

As of Friday evening, the L'Anguille was about two-and-a-half feet above flood stage and is expected to rise another foot before cresting on Monday.

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