Arkansas Tornado 2014

Stories resulting from the deadly tornado that ripped through Arkansas on Sunday, April 27, 2014. 

National Weather Service

Gov. Mike Beebe says Pulaski, Randolph and White counties have been declared federal disasters and people with storm damage are eligible for individual assistance.

Faulkner County, where most of the 15 who died April 27 in the EF-4 tornado were killed, had earlier been approved for assistance.

Beebe's office says Independence County also sought a federal disaster declaration but did not meet damage thresholds to qualify.

President Barack Obama is scheduled on Wednesday to tour areas with tornado damage.

Faulkner County officials are attributing an infant's death to last week's tornado that killed 15 people in central Arkansas.

County spokesman David Hogue says Monday that a mother, who suffered injuries from last Sunday's tornado, gave birth to a baby.

Hogue says the newborn took a breath, and died. Hogue says the baby's death is attributed to the tornado because of the mother's injuries. The infant's exact time of death and how far the mother was along in her pregnancy were not immediately known.

File photo of tornado damage near Mayflower.
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Members of Arkansas' congressional delegation are asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency and President Barack Obama to issue additional disaster declarations for areas of Arkansas hit hard by last week's tornadoes and flooding.

Arkansas' two U.S. senators and four congressmen asked Monday for a major disaster declaration for Independence, Pulaski, Randolph and White counties.

Faulkner County has already received a federal disaster declaration.

Obama is scheduled to tour areas hit by the tornado on Wednesday.

Leaders in Faulkner County say a preliminary assessment shows that 328 homes were destroyed in Sunday's tornado.

Faulkner County Attorney David Hogue says 710 homes have been assessed so far after the EF4 tornado hit the county. Along with the destroyed homes, the assessment also found 111 homes with major damage, 231 homes with minor damage and 40 homes otherwise affected.

Those numbers are preliminary as assessments continue in the county.

Faulkner County residents affected by this week's tornado are eligible for special tax relief with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

The agency says taxpayers there who have issues affecting their ability to file or pay sales and use tax, withholding tax, corporate income tax or any other state taxes as a result of the storms should contact DF&A for a deadline extension.

The agency also says that property losses attributed to the tornado can be deducted as a loss on income tax returns.

Forecasters say a tornado that hit Little Rock's suburbs and killed 15 people had winds approaching 200 mph.

Sunday's storm was rated as a "high-end" EF4 on a scale of tornado strength. The EF4 rating is the same as that given to a storm that killed 13 people on Feb. 5, 2008.

Storms rated EF4 have winds between 166 and 200 mph.

Arkansas hasn't had a top-of-the-scale storm since April 10, 1929, when a twister formed south of Batesville in Independence County and struck Sneed in northern Jackson County. That storm was rated F5 on a previous scale and killed 23.

Entergy Arkansas is facing some challenges in repairing damage to its infustructure from the tornado that hit the state earlier this week.

Spokesman David Lewis said it will take some time for the utility to rebuild, especially in parts of hard him Faulkner County.

“In a concentrated damaged area like with a tornado, you can actually fit only so many workers at one time. So we saturate the area with as many as we can put in.”

Lewis said poles were snapped, transmission lines were downed and distribution equipment were greatly damaged by Sunday’s tornado.

National Weather Service

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is urging Arkansans affected by severe storms earlier this week to register with the agency because they may qualify for disaster assistance.

FEMA officials said Wednesday that residents and business owners in Faulkner County who had property damage from the storms should file an application with the agency for aid. The assistance should cover temporary housing and medical expenses.

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama approved a major disaster declaration for the county that allows residents to apply for aid.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe stopped at a central Arkansas home where three people were killed as he toured residences damaged by a tornado at the edge of the Pulaski County line.

Sunday's tornado that authorities say left at least 15 people dead obliterated the central Arkansas family's home, killing a father and his two daughters.

Beebe said Tuesday that while it was heart-breaking to speak with the father's other two daughters who survived the twister, it was heart-warming to see other Arkansans lend a helping hand to those in need all across the state.

Mike Beebe Mark Pryor Tornado
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

President Barack Obama has approved a major disaster declaration for an Arkansas county hit hardest by a tornado that killed 15 people.

Gov. Mike Beebe and the state's congressional delegation announced Tuesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency designated Faulkner County a major disaster area.

Beebe had requested the federal aid on Monday, and the delegation earlier Tuesday asked the White House and FEMA to quickly approve the help.