Flooding briefly shuts down Interstate 30 in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:44pm EST

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark (Reuters) - A major highway between Memphis and Dallas shut down near Little Rock briefly on Monday because of flooding.

Heavy rains caused nearby streams to flood all six lanes of Interstate 30 on Monday morning, said Glenn Bolick, a spokesman for the Arkansas Transportation and Highway Department.

Traffic was diverted around a 30-mile detour. More than 88,000 vehicles travel that portion of I-30 each day, Bolick said.

All lanes were opened by early afternoon.

Julie Lasko, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Little Rock, said Little Rock had received 5.78 inches of rain by early Monday afternoon.

More rain is on the way, which could cause additional roads to flood.

Lasko said an additional one to two inches could fall in Little Rock before a stationary front exits the state Tuesday afternoon. Northern parts of the state could see higher totals overnight Monday.

On Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, heavy rains caused boat docks to break loose. In Little Rock, several schools allowed parents to pick up their children early on Monday afternoon because of road closures and flooding.

Renee Preslar, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, said that people should not attempt to drive through high waters.

Earlier this year, Arkansas experienced massive flash flooding that caused Interstate 40, a major transportation artery that links the East Coast to the West, to shut down for several days following spring rains.

(Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Greg McCune)

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