April 30th, 2010
10:10 PM ET

Death toll lowered in Arkansas storms

The death toll from severe storms in northern Arkansas has been lowered to one person, emergency officials said early Saturday.

Officials had initially said three people had been killed when the storm and three possible tornadoes walloped Van Buren County on Friday.

The number of injuries in the county was also less than previously reported, said Rene Preslar, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

There were 10 people injured in the county instead of the 25 previously reported, Preslar said.

"We are still looking at a number of damages, but fortunately the human impact is lower than previously thought."

Twenty-three people were injured statewide, Preslar said.

Kenny Dunham, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, said there were reports of severe damage in the west central part of the county, about 75 miles north of Little Rock.

Three homes have been destroyed in Shady Grove, Arkansas, the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for central and eastern Arkansas - along with parts of Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas, until 4 a.m. CT Saturday. In addition to tornadoes, the National Weather Service warned of hail up to 2.5 inches in diameter, thunderstorm wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour and dangerous lighting.

Many roads in Van Buren County are blocked and authorities have closed some highways to prevent people from trying to access affected areas, Dunham said.

The storms prompted the Little Rock National Airport to cease operations Friday night, spokesman TJ Williams said.

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soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Micky

    TWCBreaking Police radio reports tornado just west of Success, AR, near the Missouri border in Clay County.

    May 1, 2010 at 12:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Jane in North Little Rock

    Lady B. Wynne and Parkin, AR are also in the clear.

    May 1, 2010 at 12:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Fran Emerson

    Braedon and all . . . isn't it strange how it gets so still!? I mean dead calm. Not a leaf moving. It's very odd and unnerving. Only gets this way when a tornado gets close. Last time it came through my part of town, I found out later a tornado was about 300 yards from my house, but I would never have known by the wind. I've lived here all my life and I never get used to it. Angel, Forrest City is about halfway between LR and Memphis; I've not heard of any trouble in that area tonight, but I'll keep you posted.

    May 1, 2010 at 12:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. KC

    My family lives near Bearden/Camden and I cannot reach them. Have any of you heard anything?

    May 1, 2010 at 12:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Micky

    TWCBreaking Homes and chicken houses damaged in Dierks, AR (Howard County) possibly from a tornado....

    May 1, 2010 at 12:18 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Sam

    Thanks for the link, Braedon. I have family in Conway. Does anyone know if there is any damage there?

    May 1, 2010 at 12:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Liz

    I have family all over in Ark. Looks like Mabelvale has been getting hit pretty hard. Anyone have an update from there?

    May 1, 2010 at 12:23 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Micky

    TWCBreaking Possible large tornadic circulation near Weiner, AR in Poinsett County. Otwell, Greenfield, perhaps south side of Jonesboro in path!!!

    May 1, 2010 at 12:23 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Braedon Peyton

    As far as I have heard there is no significant damage in Conway but ive lost my satellite and im lagging on the live feed so I will let you know as soon as i hear something Conway is very close to me.

    A tornado occurs in the part of the thunderstorm which produces no rain, an area called the rain free base. The rain surrounds or precedes this area, which is why it rains hard and then stops before the tornado reaches you. Unless it is rainwrapped which is bad because it is harder to see, this can be flawed as my knowledge on the ins and outs isnt solid so take it as it is as my "best guess"

    May 1, 2010 at 12:24 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Wrona

    Lady B, Parkin and Wynne are in the eastern part of the state close to Memphis. They should be in the clear as these storms are hitting in the central part of the state (stretching from south to north). Northwest Arkansas and far Eastern Arkansas are okay.

    May 1, 2010 at 12:24 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Alicia

    Are these storms weakening, or strengthening? I live in Kentucky, and the part in Little Rock appears to be coming my way. I would like to have as much warning as possible to get my children to safety. To all of those in the line of fire, PLEASE, take shelter and be safe!

    May 1, 2010 at 12:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Wrona

    I haven't heard anything about any tornadoes in Conway for the people asking about that.

    For the person asking about Mabelvale, so far I haven't heard about any damage in Mabelvale (my family and friends in that area haven't relayed any damage reports to me). It is a little to the west of East End which is where the storms have tracked over – at least 3 times this evening.

    May 1, 2010 at 12:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. chris

    I've been broadcasting all evening and night on a local radio station. It's crazy how this just erupted. I've not seen a night like this since '99!
    I pray we don't get another night of this tomorrow.

    BTW, the guy who said 75% of the population lives in double wides: Dude, get your information right. There's no way that's correct, it's just a stereotype that is spread by a bunch of people who wish to degrade us.

    May 1, 2010 at 12:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Braedon Peyton

    Again, so it doesn't get buried for those that live out of state http://www.arkansasmatters.com live streaming of our minute by minute weather reports and warnings.

    Hate be spamming here, but just doing my part to get the word out to people who otherwise have no access to this information. I know what it is like to have family in bad areas and not have access to information.

    May 1, 2010 at 12:31 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Tam G.

    I live near Jerusalem AR, North of Atkins. The tornado that touched down near Clinton passed right over us. I am a storm spotter and was out observing the rotation as it passed. Fortunately for us we dodged this one, two years ago it was a different story, the area from Atknis north was hit hard.

    My son is with the Arkansas National Guard, they are out checking on people.
    Communications to the affected area are badly damaged and emergency services is asking people to NOT call.

    The areas of most damage are mostly in the north central part of the state. But the storms are still rolling across the region, we can only hope it does not get any worse.

    Anyone wanting a better idea should check the site on the poster above. arkansasmatters,com

    Tam G.

    May 1, 2010 at 12:31 am | Report abuse | Reply
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