Arkansas Tornado Update

A tornado touched down last Sunday night, April 27, in north Central Arkansas. Gary DiGiuseppe (Arkansas Radio Network, Little Rock, AR) said, “Among the hardest hit communities were Vilonia and Mayflower in Faulkner County, north of Little Rock. The county recorded 10 fatalities. It was three years and one day after another tornado had struck Vilonia.” Gary reports that University of Arkansas Extension staff chair for Faulkner County Hank Cheney told him, “A lot of the people who had damage, had just finished rebuilding and were getting their lives back.” He says one cattle producer may have lost as many as 80 head, and another suffered extensive loss of farm structures.

There were also reports of horses being lost or injured. Although the tornado was followed by heavy rain, it has been a cool spring and pasture owners were concerned grass wasn’t coming up, and temperatures had just turned warmer ahead of the storm. It was somewhat dry as well. Although Cheney was concerned about flooding damaging the corn, he felt the rice would be okay. Chaney says Extension will provide a list of farms that will board livestock for those who lost fencing, and expected the state 4-H to conduct a drive to collect personal items to be sent to the affected region. Gary said, “I heard one isolated report of 7 inches of rain near Jonesboro.”

Arkansas County extension chair Glenn Beckwith said he figured 75 to 80 percent of the rice has been planted and pre-emergence herbicides had been applied ahead of the rain. Further north, Extension’s news service quotes Clay County extension staff chair Andy Vangilder as saying heavy rains had submerged some fields entirely, and most fields were flooded at their low ends. Many rice levees were knocked down as well.