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At Least Five People Have Died in Arkansas as Tornadoes Tear Through Towns


ROGERS, Ark. – Some people in Arkansas woke up to terrible news on Sunday morning. At least one tornado had hit several towns overnight, killing at least five people across the state.

The town of Rogers, which is in the northwest of the state, was one of the worst hit.

“Shock” is the best word to use to describe how everyone in Rogers feels right now, Tiffany Rea told FOX Weather. “It seems strange. It feels like a war zone sometimes. It’s just crazy to think about.”

She and her son, who is almost 13 years old, got up early to see if they could help people in need.

“This morning, the town was really, really sad.” “A lot of damage was done,” Rea said. “So much trash. The shop windows were broken. It was really sad.

They have been awake since about 1:30 a.m., when her phone’s alarm went off. Their parents, soon-to-be-teen son, and two younger brothers rushed to the shelter. Rea joined a call with other families who were hiding out. They played games to take their kids’ minds off of how scared they were.

“We have had tornado warnings in the past, but nothing has ever hit us even close to this,” he said.

She remembered telling them not to be scared because storms always go away before they hit a town.

“And then the sirens went off, and everything just kind of spiraled from there,” said Rea. “It was really quite a shock to hear big branches hitting our roof and hail.” For a while, it was really scary.”

She felt lucky, Rea said. The damage to her house and cars was not too bad.

“And we’re grateful for that.” At the same time, though, we feel terrible for our neighborhood, Rea said. “It’s such a weird mix of emotions, feeling super thankful and super sad at the same time.”

They tried to get rid of the big trees and twigs that were in the roads, but they couldn’t. She and her son gave their neighbors, who were not as lucky as the Reas, hugs and prayers to make them feel better.

“A store owner in the area, she literally fell over and hit her sign. She was crying.” That store has been there for a long time; it’s an icon in this area. “It breaks my heart to see all the loss,” Rea said.

Rogers Mayor Greg Hines talked to FOX Weather on Sunday morning after getting stuck in his house.

“We are trapped in where we’re at without power,” he said. “Trees are across the road, wrapped up, entangled in power lines.”

He said that the natural gas company had to get teams from out of state to fix lines that had broken. Max Gorden of FOX Weather has been reporting live from Rogers. He said that the smell of natural gas hit him right away.

This is what Hines said about the tornado: “a pretty decent path right through the heart of town.”

Rogers Police Officer Keith Foster said, “I’ve seen storms come through here, but this is pretty, pretty impressive damage so far.” No deaths or injuries were recorded in Rogers, even though there was a lot of damage and not many injuries. That can all change once the sun comes up, though, and we can go to other places.

Two other towns did not have such good luck. Two people have died so far in Arkansas’s overnight weather. One was killed in Benton County, which is near Rogers; the other was killed in Baxter County; a third was killed in Olvey County; and two were killed in Marion County. The Olvey tornado was first rated an EF-5 by the NWS.

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