The Latest: 1 Arkansas levee weakening, officials say

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) – The Latest on flooding affecting parts of the United States (all times local):

7:30 a.m.

Officials in western Arkansas are carefully watching a levee that’s beginning to deteriorate because of the overflowing Arkansas River.

The Van Buren Police Department says a portion of the levee system in rural Crawford County is “showing signs of significant leakage and deterioration” because of record flows from the river.

The area is near Fort Smith, where historic flooding is occurring because of a rush of water headed downstream from Oklahoma and Kansas.

Police say the Van Buren levee is still functioning but there is a risk of a breach. The National Weather Service predicts the river will remain above record levels in western Arkansas for at least several days.

In Oklahoma, water levels are slowly dropping on the Arkansas River near Tulsa but widespread flooding remains.

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5 a.m.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is activating the Illinois National Guard to respond to recent severe flooding.

Pritzker is holding a Thursday morning news conference at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency in Springfield with Adjutant General Richard Neely and others about the planned activation.

The update comes a day after Madison County in southern Illinois was declared a disaster area and National Guard help was sought to aid in flood-fighting efforts. County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler said the disaster exists due to record-breaking flooding along the Mississippi River.

Emergency management officials say agencies are pre-positioning equipment near levees and the county has sent its sandbagging machine to Alton. High water has forced some bridges across the Mississippi River to close between Illinois and Missouri, causing detours for some motorists.

A sign reading “Looters will be shot!!” sits in front of a flooded home on Turtle Bay, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Fort Smith, Ark. Forecasters say heavy rainfall is intensifying flooding in already saturated areas along the Oklahoma-Arkansas border. (Ben Goff/The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)
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