The Arkansas River held steady at record levels Thursday morning, putting enormous pressure on aging levees and offering little relief to areas enduring historic flooding.

In Fort Smith, Arkansas’ second-largest city, officials expected hundreds of homes to flood , while in nearby Van Buren, officials warned that a levee protecting a mostly rural area was “showing signs of significant leakage and deterioration.” And across the border in Oklahoma’s Muskogee County, the conditions have already prompted the evacuations of more than 2,400 people and flooded nearly 1,100 homes, according to the local emergency management department.

In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker activated the National Guard to respond to recent severe flooding.

A sign reading
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)

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday that more than 400 homes have been voluntarily evacuated because of the flooding. The Republican said he directed another $250,000 in state funds toward the flood response and requested federal assistance from the Trump administration.

At least one death in Arkansas has been blamed on the flooding.

“This is a flood of historic magnitude. It surpasses all Arkansas River flooding in our recorded history,” Hutchinson said Wednesday at a news conference with state emergency officials. “That should be enough to get everybody’s attention.”

In this Tuesday, May 28, 2019 photo, Rapid Creek overflows its banks covering up a parks department barricade near the Central States Fair Grounds just south of San Francisco Street in Rapid City, S.D. (Adam Fondren/Rapid City Journal via AP)
In this Tuesday, May 28, 2019 photo, Rapid Creek overflows its banks covering up a parks department barricade near the Central States Fair Grounds just south of San Francisco Street in Rapid City, S.D. (Adam Fondren/Rapid City Journal via AP)

The rush of water was hitting Arkansas as the Army Corps of Engineers releases water from a hydroelectric dam northwest of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to help drain the swollen Keystone Lake reservoir. The reservoir drains a watershed of more than 22,000 square miles (57,000 square kilometers) in areas of northeastern Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas that have been hit by heavy rain.

The Corps said Wednesday that the releases would be reduced by Saturday to 150,000 cubic feet per second (4,247 cubic meters). Officials said that measure would help the floodwaters begin to recede but that it would take days, if not weeks.

In this Tuesday, May 28, 2019 photo, Rapid Creek overflows its banks on the eastside of Elk Vale Road  in Rapid City, S.D. (Adam Fondren/Rapid City Journal via AP)
In this Tuesday, May 28, 2019 photo, Rapid Creek overflows its banks on the eastside of Elk Vale Road in Rapid City, S.D. (Adam Fondren/Rapid City Journal via AP)
In this Wednesday, May 29, 2019 photo, two cyclists ride along the Old River Control Structure, as swelling waters from the Mississippi River are diverted through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers structure into the Atchafalaya Basin, in Vidalia, La. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
In this Wednesday, May 29, 2019 photo, two cyclists ride along the Old River Control Structure, as swelling waters from the Mississippi River are diverted through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers structure into the Atchafalaya Basin, in Vidalia, La. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Flood waters surround homes in Fort Smith, Ark., Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Flood waters from the Arkansas River continue to rise. (AP Photo/Hannah Grabenstein)
Flood waters surround homes in Fort Smith, Ark., Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Flood waters from the Arkansas River continue to rise. (AP Photo/Hannah Grabenstein)
Father and son Brad and Bart Hindley, take a boat to Brad's flooded house in Fort Smith, Ark., Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Brad said he doesn't live in a flood plain, but flood waters from the Arkansas River continue to rise. (Hannah Grabenstein/AP) (Hannah Grabenstein/AP)
Father and son Brad and Bart Hindley, take a boat to Brad’s flooded house in Fort Smith, Ark., Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Brad said he doesn’t live in a flood plain, but flood waters from the Arkansas River continue to rise. (Hannah Grabenstein/AP) (Hannah Grabenstein/AP)
In this Tuesday, May 28, 2019 photo, Josh Tedder inspects rising rising waters from the Platte River as he stands atop a newly built dike at Hansons Lake in Bellevue, Neb. (Chris Machian/Omaha World-Herald via AP)
In this Tuesday, May 28, 2019 photo, Josh Tedder inspects rising rising waters from the Platte River as he stands atop a newly built dike at Hansons Lake in Bellevue, Neb. (Chris Machian/Omaha World-Herald via AP)