A storm system spawning multiple tornados hit southwest Arkansas and Texas Sunday night and early Monday morning.
Two people were killed in the Arkansas town of Nashville, while damage was extensive throughout the region.
The managing editor of the bi-weekly Nashville News, David Ray, visited the scene in Howard County Monday morning.
“I went to the city park, saw significant damage there. I also went to the location that the two fatalities occurred. The six trailer houses were absolutely obliterated. There was nothing there,” Ray said.
The community then began working to recover and help those impacted, he said.
“The largest local Baptist church has opened their activity center for those that have been displaced by the storm. Local businesses are donating chainsaws and other equipment. A large amount of volunteers have already turned out to help cleanup,” said Ray.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson traveled to Nashville, the county seat, Monday afternoon to assess the damage first-hand. He then declared Franklin, Garland, Howard, Izard, Johnson, Montgomery, Newton, Pike, Pope and Searcy Counties a disaster area.
In a statement, Hutchinson said:
It’s always difficult to see the damage inflicted by deadly storms and tornadoes. Our hearts and prayers go out to those in the Nashville area who were affected by the recent weather, especially the family of those who died from Sunday’s tornado.
As Arkansans, we all hold our breath when we hear about severe weather. Sadly, we’ve been through this before, and we know how devastating these storms can be. But Arkansans help out each other. We always have. We always will. And I know the compassion of Arkansans will reach those in these difficult circumstances
The National Weather Service sent representatives to assess the damage, who said it appears an EF-2 storm with winds up to 125 mph touched down.
Large sections of western Arkansas also remain at risk of flooding because of the sheer volume of water that fell. It could take a couple of days for swollen waterways to receed.