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. Don

    My parents live in Van Buren county, just got off the phone with them. Parts of Clinton,Ar. without power, but everyone is ok as far as they know.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Braedon Peyton

    I am in West Little Rock, the sirens started going off for us around 7:30 and didn't let up until about a half hour ago, watching the news they said it was still touch and go, but our sirens just now as I am writing this, started going off again with another set of tornadoes following the same exact line as before. I haven't see any myself, but of the ones confirmed, one of them was about 4 miles from me.

    There is second and third line of storms coming in that are going to take the exact same path. As someone who grew up in in Ohio, and have been in a house hit by a tornado, please do not wait to get to shelter, do not try to get a pic or video, it is not worth your life. A funnel can drop on you in a heartbeat and then it's all over for you. May whatever higher power you believe in keep you and yours safe.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ashley Craig

    I got nickel size hail, sirens going off earlier here in Sherwood, now another round seems to be heading this way. I really hate this time of year, very scary and so unpredictable.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cass

    Fayetteville was only some rain and a small amount of dime size hail. very sad what happened only a few mins down the road. 🙁

    April 30, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Braedon Peyton

    New tornado warnings just issued for Little Rock area moving in from the South, Ashley Craig, and anyone else in this area, keep on your toes, it is dead calm right now on my street and I mean DEAD no wind nothing at all, and you can feel the pressure, there are reports of 2 on the ground right now as I type this,

    April 30, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Robert

    Thanks for the more detailed info from above commenters. It sounds like the worst of it wasn't quite where my friend is, but of course my prayers are with those who may be less fortunate. But when posters here can provide more complete info than a so-called news website, the latter isn't doing a very good job IMO.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Josh E

    This is my first trip to Arkansas and am staying in the Little Rock/Benton area. It is very bad right now and the sirens have been going off all night. Nastiest storm I have ever seen.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Braedon Peyton

    JOSH E FIND COVER, they are reporting tornado's on the ground in and around BENTON.

    On a side note, this is one of the more nastier storms I have seen since I moved to arkansas, usually they last a few minutes and are gone, but this is going to be an all night event it seems, Our warnings are canceled and then reinstated almost immediately.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ashley Craig

    It is dead quiet. Thanks. I have my weather radio, cell phone, and watching the news. I live less than a mile from the Air Force Base here, off 107 and in between the National Weather Center and Camp Robinson, so I am thankful to know if anything happens, we will be quick to be notified. Take care everyone.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Carolyn Hook

    So many storms, this is just the first report of many from this tornado outbreak.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ashley Craig

    Tornado spotted off Chico Road Saline County Line, near Dixon Road in Little Rock.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sharon Carlsen

    Prayers to the people who lost loved ones tonight. At least some places HAVE sirens. Where we are in Mammoth Spring, AR (North Central in Fulton County) there are no sirens. All I have is my computer. If my signal goes down on my Hughesnet satellite....I can't see the storms progressing to know if we are in danger or not. Nor can I access my email where I get weather warnings from the National Weather Service. I really get scared when these warnings and watches come after dark. You just can't see anything coming. My dogs watch me every second with big scared eyes.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Braedon Peyton

    Ashley, Be safe, I am in WLR off of Cantrell, it is now starting to get really bad, I will try to update for anyone who is unable to get current news for as long as I can. I suspect my power is going to go before to long.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ashley Craig

    For reasons unknown to me, Saline County always gets hit, and then what's left travels up to Pulaski County, etc..sometimes weakening, other times regaining strength.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ashley Craig

    I would recommend everyone signing up their cell phones and e-mail accounts with NOAA and the Weather Channel, I get texts and e-mails for every Severe Weather warning.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
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