LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson toured Randolph, Sharp and Lawrence counties Tuesday to view areas hit by severe flooding and issued a statement urging residents of flooded areas to be cautious and obey any evacuation orders.

“I applaud local officials and first responders who continue working to aid those affected by the flooding and storm damage,” Hutchinson said. “My survey of the storm damage in Randolph, Sharp and Lawrence counties further clarified the steps we must take to ensure the safety of our citizens and the protection of property as floodwaters continue to rise, and as we anticipate more rain in the next few days.

“This is why I have declared a state of emergency for Arkansas in response to the heavy rain and flooding throughout the state. The safety of Arkansans is my utmost concern.”

At least seven people have died as a result of the weekend’s storms, including Fire Chief Doug Deckard of Cove Creek Pearson Fire Department. Hutchinson ordered that state flags be flown at half-staff in Deckard’s honor.

“When you see a road with water crossing it, turn around,” the governor said. “Don’t think it’s not rising. Don’t think you can make it through in a car.”