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. James

    I got a gf in trumann apparently there in shelter too via text messaging says theres one on the ground.. any input ?

    May 1, 2010 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dee

    Prayers for all of you in my home state, still have many families there scattered around.
    Praying that all of you make it through these storms safely and that this season will be a mild one.

    May 1, 2010 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. Teriann

    For those of you outside of Arkansas wanting updated information, follow the weather live for central Arkansas on http://www.thv2.com This is Channel 11's web presence. They will not go off the air while there is dangerous weather in the state.

    May 1, 2010 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. Teriann

    What a terrible night. These were/are "long track cells" and if we had successfully had a regular sunshine day, it would have been much worse with much more damage. Our prayers go out to the families in Scotland, Cleveland in Van Buren County and to those in Lonoke and White Counties who have lost WELL BUILT homes. Help is on the way!!

    May 1, 2010 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. Elsie

    the wost part of the storm hit east end i have gotten word that the fire department, intermediate school elementry school and police department R completly gone

    May 1, 2010 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Lisa H.

    I live in Searcy arkansas. About a hour north of little Rock. It has been really rough tonight. We are all scared to go to bed. Please keep us in your prayers. I live in white co and just heard on the news that a 13 year old child has been struck by lightening. No word yet on the child's condition. Why was this child outside this evening and where were the parents?? Right now it is raining off and on and the wind is blowing pretty hard. It feels so eerie outside. Warm but a cool breeze blowing. So very very humid and sticky. We have been seeing all kinds on stuff on the news saying tomorrow evening will be just as bad , and if not WORSE than tonight's weather. We are praying everyone keeps informed and safe throughout the night and into tomorrow night. I'm so thankful my family and friends have been safe and lucky tonight. Some others have not been and my heart aches for them. It could have been any of us with the crazy mess that has been popping up. God bless Arkansas tonight and hold us close.

    May 1, 2010 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. Teriann

    Elsie, the Fire Department was heavily damaged. The elementary school is still there because it's being used as an emergency shelter. The police department is still there as well. I'm not sure about the intermediate school.

    May 1, 2010 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. screw

    screw cnn

    May 1, 2010 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lisa H.

    To the person above me. GROW UP AND get out of this conversation if you don't have anything better to say. We are talking about people losing their lives here. Now move along.....

    May 1, 2010 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jo

    Oh, THANK YOU for the link to arkansasmatters.com - it's great! It's been a wild night in Greene Co here in Arkansas! Dogs terrifed, we are too! Glad to see that the National Guard is out helping! Thank you Gov Beebe! Also, thank you for all your prayers from all those who posted! The warnings are still coming–they end and then they are reinstated. Stay well, everyone!

    May 1, 2010 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. Melissa

    From Jonesboro, it's been a bad night and it's still storming, but we have some relief until it starts up again tomorrow. But there were quite a few funnels and a good deal of rotation in NE Arkansas, although we're not sure of the damage. Some in Newport, Harrisburg, Rector, Piggot, Pocahontas, and Manila so far. We won't really know until tomorrow, but all I can say is I haven't seen a line hit like this in years.

    May 1, 2010 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. mom

    Have friends in Jonesboro and haven't heard from them yet. Anyone with info for that part of Arkansas?

    May 1, 2010 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Paula

    First, let me say thank you to all those who have been and still are praying for us! I am in Bryant, about 10 minutes south of Little Rock. My husband pastors a small Baptist Church in the East End area, where TWO tornadoes hit tonight. One touchdown has been confirmed by law enforcement.

    As far as we've heard, there are no fatalities in East End. There is however, alot of damage. One of our church members was in a mobile home with her adult son. When the tornado hit, it blew the trailer off the foundation and rolled it twice. Both were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries. They were blessed! I haven't spoken to her daughter in law in almost 2 hours, so I'm not sure if they were going to release them tonight or not, but I suspect so.

    The fire house was heavily damaged, and most likely one of their trucks is probably going to be totalled, as the roof fell in on it. There were several fireman/first responders in the station at the time the tornado hit. They were all crowded into the bathroom, and all escaped without injury. They immediately went to work helping canvas the area, in some neighborhoods going door to door making sure their friends/family/neighbors were ok.

    My husband spoke with anther church member who is an EMT. He tells us that there are at least 30 roads in the Bauxite/Sardis/East End community closed due to trees and power lines being down. There was (I'm not sure if they have it contained or not) a natural gas leak in the area of Ironton Road in East End. It is my understanding that there iwere ssues getting this contained. (I can't confirm this though)

    Our communty was blessed. Either Mike or I have spoken with each family in our congregation. With the exception of the Ashley's mobile home, all avoided major damage. One woman had a 100+ year old oak tree that was planted less than 10 feet from her house. The tree was uprooted completely and laid over on the ground. There is not even a shingle disturbed from the house that held this dear couple, and 6 of their grandchildren!

    When the 2nd storm came into the area, Mike was on the phone with a friend of ours. He had already moved his family back down into their basement, and told us that he had to get off the phone, because he could hear the tornado coming. Another friend shared that though the tornado didn't hit them, it was close enough to them to hear trees and power lines snapping, the whistle of the storm, and they felt the pressure of the air being sucked out. Her 15 month old grandson began to scream at this point, I'm assuming from his ears hurting.

    It's 1 a.m. our time, and I'm hearing the sounds of thunder in the distance again, and can see the lightening strikes getting brighter and more frequent I just flipped the tv channel to discover that we are once again under a severe thunderstorm warning here in central Arkansas, as well as several counties southwest and Northeast of us. Some of those same counties (Plus a few more) are under Flash Flood Warnings and Watches.. It looks like all the tornado warnings have been allowed to expire, though a huge chunk of the state is still under a tornado watch . I'm about ready for this to be over, but they tell us we may get another round tomorrow.

    May 1, 2010 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. Harrisburg

    Harrisburg hit by strong winds and very heavy rain. The large flag pole at the entrance to town is on the ground, looks like it was sheared off at the base, just laying there. Lots of water on the ground and most all of the ditches are flooded into the roads and yards. A few tree limbs scattered here and there.. but at the moment the damage looks minimal. The night is young, the rain will continue through the night. The news said our winds were 60-80 mph. Daylight will be when we can really see all the damage. '

    May 1, 2010 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
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