Arkansas Tornado 2014

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

Deadly tornadoes have wreaked havoc in the South, leveling homes and claiming at least 28 lives in the past three days. And meteorologists say the threat of more tornadoes won't ease up till Wednesday.

Getting to a safe place is the best thing that people can do to protect themselves and their families. That can mean a specially constructed concrete safe room, a basement, or just a ditch if you're caught outdoors.

Residents of central Arkansas who lost power during a tornado are being offered a chance to charge their electronic devices at mobile generators deployed near heavily damaged areas.

AT&T says it has set up a temporary cell tower near Mayflower and now has six sites set up as charging stations. The company reminds people that text messages go through quicker than phone calls when the call volume is heavy.

In Mayflower, the charging stations are at the high school and middle school.

In Vilonia, the stations are at City Hall and the Beryl Baptist Church.

The National Weather Service is continuing its survey of the deadly tornado that struck Arkansas on Sunday.

Warning coordination meteorologist John Robinson says surveys of the storm track will continue Tuesday and Wednesday. Two forecasters also plan to fly the track with the Civil Air Patrol on Wednesday.

Robinson says the tornado is now considered at least an EF3 but a final rating isn't expected until late Wednesday.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Much of the South is going through a devastating week. Tornadoes struck Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee last night. At least 11 people were killed.

GREENE: And all that came a day after a tornado struck Arkansas, leaving 15 people dead there. The National Weather Service estimates it carved a 40-mile long path through an area west of Little Rock.

tornado damage
James Bryant

At least 15 people were killed in Arkansas, officials say, when a large tornado cut through the state Sunday evening. At one point, 16 people had been reported killed, but that figure was revised Monday.

Storm chasers report the tornado was about a half-mile wide and stayed on the ground at least a half-hour. Hardest hit were the towns of Mayflower and Vilonia, where there was extensive devastation, with homes and buildings being destroyed and trees ripped apart.

American Red Cross
redcross.org

For hundreds of residents the repercussions of Monday’s storm damage are still being contemplated as they use food, blankets, and cots provided by the Red Cross. Brigette Williams with Arkansas’s chapter of the Red Cross said six shelters are being used in Mayflower, Conway, and Vilonia.

She said they are continuing to take in those affected by the tornados, which has included a number of children.

tornado damage
James Bryant

Three years after a tornado devastated the Little Rock suburb of Vilonia, its residents again huddled in storm cellars as the most powerful twister this year carved an 80-mile path of destruction through suburbs north of the state capital, killing at least 16 people.

President Barack Obama is sending his deepest condolences to those affected by a deadly tornado that ripped through Arkansas and has directed federal resources to the area.

The White House said Obama is sending Craig Fugate, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, to Arkansas "to ensure the appropriate federal resources are being brought to bear to support the state and local efforts."

Update: Hogue says residents of Mayflower and Vilonia are now being allowed back into their towns as long as they bring a valid ID with them that proves they live there. He says the number of people confirmed dead in the county is now eleven.   

Search and rescue efforts continue in Faulkner County after last night's deadly tornadoes.

Faulkner County's attorney David Hogue says residents in Vilonia and Mayflower are not yet being allowed back into their neighborhoods.

People walk between destroyed houses in Mayflower, Ark.
Danny Johnston/AP

The closest hospital to the deadly tornado that struck central Arkansas says it's treated about 100 patients for storm-related injuries.

Conway Regional Medical Center said Monday morning that nine of those patients were admitted to the hospital and another 10 people were transferred to hospitals in Little Rock.

Conway is in between the cities of Mayflower and Vilonia, where a massive tornado caused widespread damage Sunday night.

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