Least 17 Killed As Tornadoes Rip Through Arkansas, Oklahoma
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[April 28, 2014]
By Suzi Parker
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) — Tornadoes ripped through the south-central United States on Sunday,
killing at least 17 people in Arkansas and Oklahoma and wiping out
entire neighborhoods, authorities said as rescue workers searched in
darkness for survivors.
Winds ripped houses off their foundations and flipped cars on top
of the rubble in the small town of Vilonia in central Arkansas'
Faulkner county, one of the worst-hit communities, television
Arkansas authorities said at least 10 people had died in Faulkner
and six more across the state — the first reported fatalities of
this year's tornado season. Another person was killed in neighboring
Oklahoma, said the sheriff's department.
Searchers were continuing to dig through rubble in Vilonia and a
spokesman for the County Sheriff's office said there was a "mass
"An entire neighborhood of 50 or so homes has been destroyed. Many
homes are completely gone except the foundation ... There is more
devastation like this in other parts of Arkansas," state congressman
Tim Griffin told Reuters.
Cable television's Weather Channel showed videotape of mangled,
overturned cars, some with people still inside, lining miles of
Interstate 40 near Mayflower, 22 miles northwest of state capital
Motorists searched crushed vehicles for victims while others stood
dazed on the road. Authorities closed the route.
A tornado hit the east side of Mayflower at around 7.30 pm, killing
at least one person, tearing up trees and bringing down power lines,
making it difficult for the emergency services to find stricken
areas in the dark, officials there said.
"It's extremely hazardous here right now," said Will Elder, an
alderman in the city. "The power lines are down, roads are blocked
and they will have to proceed with caution."
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The Arkansas National Guard was deployed to help out in the state.
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said on its website
10 deaths had been reported in Faulkner, five in Pulaski county and
one in White county.
At least one other person was killed in a tornado in the small town
of Quapaw, in the northeast corner of neighboring Oklahoma,
according to Ottawa County Sheriff's Department spokesman Derek
That twister was spotted in the town 200 miles northeast of Oklahoma
City at about 5:45 p.m., according to the weather service.
Media and the National Weather Service reported that two people were
Overnight tornado watches and warnings were announced in several
parts of Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi.
(Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Kevin
Murphy in Kansas City, Missouri; writing by Dan Whitcomb, Brendan
O'Brien and Chris Michaud; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Andrew
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