Storms predicted in areas beset by Arkansas River flooding

Storms predicted in areas beset by Arkansas River flooding
Homes are flooded near the Arkansas River in Tulsa, Okla., on Friday, May 24, 2019. The threat of potentially devastating flooding continued Friday along the Arkansas River from Tulsa into western Arkansas. (Tom Gilbert/Tulsa World via AP)

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) — State highway officials have closed two bridges over the Arkansas River in Fort Smith as the waterway surges toward a record crest this week.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation says the Interstate 540 and the U.S. 71B bridges were shut down Monday night because of flooding concerns, though the department says both structures remain sound.

Widespread flooding is occurring in the Tulsa area, where severe thunderstorms are also possible Tuesday. In western Arkansas, the river is expected to crest Wednesday in Van Buren at 42.5 feet (13 meters) — or more than 4 feet (1.2 meters) above its historic crest, which had occurred in 1945.

Forecasters say up to 4 inches of rain is possible this week in the waterlogged areas.