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Cars stranded as water rises in parts of Arkansas

SHARE Cars stranded as water rises in parts of Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The remnants of Hurricane Isaac flung more rain across parts of Arkansas on Friday, leaving cars stranded in high water before the storm wandered north into Missouri.

Heavy rainfall and flash flooding forced schools to send students home early in Pine Bluff, where the National Weather Service said 8.5 inches of rain fell by Friday afternoon.

"Streets are flooded. Bus routes are under water," reported deputy superintendent Rudolph Howard, although he said he didn't know of any problems with students getting home.

A number of cars got stuck on roads, however, as the water rose to 3 or 4 feet in some places, police spokeswoman Lt. JoAnn Bates said.

There were no reports of injuries from the storm Friday, though standing water posed a problem in some homes, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman Chad Stover said.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings and a tornado watch, but no tornadoes had been reported by Friday afternoon, as what was left of Isaac drifted into the northeast corner of the state. Tornado warnings were issued for three counties, but there was no confirmation that anything touched down.

Meanwhile, crews worked to restore electricity to thousands left without power. Entergy Arkansas reported about 16,000 customers without electricity early Friday, but that number had declined to 5,122 by late Friday.

Some farmers who struggled with drought all summer found themselves with too much rain, though most ranchers were grateful for the water and the prospect of green grass for the animals to eat.

"For the cattle people, this is a windfall," said Robby Bevis, whose family has about 100 cows.

He grows rice, beans and corn and after more than 3 inches of rain fell near his farm, he said that was enough.

"I think we're at the breaking point to where if it doesn't slow down and get out of here, it's going to start affecting crops in the wrong way," Bevis said.

Fortunately, forecasters said the weather looked better for the Labor Day weekend.

"The forecast gets a little bit better each and every day, and by next week, we should be drying out and temperatures going back up again," meteorologist Joe Goudsward said.

That news made for a happy tourism department.

"The Labor Day weekend, we had assumed it would be wet and rainy, but Isaac has moved on through the state," said Kat Robinson, spokeswoman for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. "The skies are clear. The burn bans in many counties have been canceled and it looks like a great holiday weekend coming up."

Follow Jeannie Nuss at http://twitter.com/jeannienuss