Miller County OEM asking residents to be prepared for Laura

This satellite image released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows Tropical Storm Laura in the North Atlantic Ocean, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020. Laura formed Friday in the eastern Caribbean and forecasters said it poses a potential hurricane threat to Florida and the U.S. Gulf Coast. A second storm also may hit the U.S. after running into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. (NOAA via AP)

TEXARKANA — Though Hurricane Laura will hit the Gulf region the hardest, the effects of the storm are expected to be felt in the Miller County area.

The Miller County office of emergency management released a statement Tuesday asking residents to consider the impacts that could arise from the storm.

According to the office of emergency management, the effects could be felt as early as Wednesday as Laura makes its way northward from Louisiana and Texas into Arkansas. The office of emergency management is expecting the full effect of the storm to hit on Thursday afternoon.

Recently, portions of southwest and western Arkansas have been running five to 10 inches above average rainfall, though slight variations could alter the forecast.

Flash flooding is the prime concern as Laura moves into Arkansas with tropical storm strength, which could mean 30 to 40 MPH winds with gusts up to 50 MPH. Five to 10% of the area could see 50 knot wind (58 MPH).

“Since we have endured heavy rainfall recently, we could see downed trees due to a saturated ground,” OEM Director Joe Bennett said. “There is a possibility of 4-6 inches of rainfall depending on how fast the storm moves through our area, so flash flooding could occur between Thursday morning from 7:00 a.m. to Friday morning at 7:00 a.m.”

The National Weather Service is not calling for much tornadic activity, but the storms could spur off tornadoes. However, that may be expected north and northeast of the Texarkana area.

“At this time no arrangements have been made with area shelter locations to open, but OEM has been in contact with the Red Cross to prepare if Red Cross shelters are needed,” Bennett said.

Churches and area shelters who wish to open are encouraged to contact the office of emergency management. The office of emergency management will create a list of shelters and put the information out via media and social media. The office of emergency management is preparing for the influx of people evacuating from the storms, and area hotels are encouraged to lift restrictions to any out of state citizens.

The office of emergency management asks citizens to prepare with a NOAA weather radio to listen to the latest weather updates should there be any power disruptions due to the storm.