Tuesday, March 28, 2017

TOP STORY >> Aftermath of spring storm

By JEFFREY SMITH Leader staff writer

A tornado and high winds on Friday night left many area residents picking up debris over the weekend.

An EF-2 tornado hit a trailer park in north Pulaski County at Lowridge and Slipspur Roads. The National Weather Service in Little Rock reported the tornado touched down at 11:20 p.m. near the Pulaski-Faulkner County line south of Frenchman Mountain Road.

The twister lasted seven minutes. It traveled 4.1 miles and was 100 yards wide. Winds were between 111-135 mph. Six people were injured and four mobile homes were destroyed.

Landowner Sheila Shearer said two of the mobile homes were vacant. The trailer park has 11 residents. She said power and water service is back on.

“The last two days have been a blur,” Shearer said.

Angie and Marvin Fisher with Sylvan Hills Church of Christ delivered donated water, food and snacks for residents of the trailer park on Sunday. Members of That Church in Sherwood helped with clean-up efforts on Saturday.

Fire and Ice Heating and Air owners Ricky and Rhonda Davis volunteered repairing sheet metal on the mobile homes. Jesse Dickerson brought his tractor.

“We were sitting at home watching TV, and they said there was a severe thunderstorm warning. When the storm hit I heard glass breaking, and I hid behind the couch,” Ethan Hawkins said.

“The power went out five seconds before it hit. The house was shaking. It really does sound like a freight train and then five seconds later it was gone,” said his sister, Heather Hawkins.

“We looked out the window and the neighbor’s house was gone. A pregnant woman was trapped under her house. My mom helped her and she is OK.

“Another neighbor, an older man in his 70s, was trapped under a support beam,” Ethan Hawkins said.


A patchwork of blue and white tarps now cover the roofs of many homes and businesses in Beebe.

The National Weather Service in Little Rock surveyed the damage and determined straight-line winds of 80 mph caused damage from West Dewitt Henry Drive at ASU Boulevard over the freeway continuing along Hwy. 64 West.

Shingles were peeled off, tree branches were broken. Signs were bent over or blown out.

The strong winds toppled two stone monuments at the Veterans Memorial. The city council is seeking bids to replace it.

The old boat factory building caved in.

Regions Bank at 1500 W. Dewitt Henry Drive had insulation draped from the ceiling on the second floor. A window was broken on the ground floor. Next door, a strip mall had glass doors and windows shattered.

Sy Brazeal of 50 Hwy. 64 West was picking up debris in his yard on Sunday.

“They say it was just winds, but I’ve never seen winds pull brick off a house before,” Brazeal said.

More severe weather is being forecasted this week.


The North Little Rock City Council approved donating used tornado sirens to Cabot and Ward during Monday’s meeting.

Cabot will get three and Ward will get four. North Little Rock replaced the sirens with newer models.

Cabot Fire Chief Phil Robinson said the city has seven sirens. One is not working and another does not rotate to broadcast the sound.

Cabot will use the donated sirens for parts or replacement.

Ward has three tornado sirens. In November, the city council turned down a $12,000 request to repair its three sirens. The sirens wail but do not rotate to broadcast the sound to all areas of the Ward.

Ward will use the donated sirens for parts or replacement and may install one on a pole for warning. A new pole will be around $1,000 a piece, plus cost of wiring.

Ward city officials suggested residents purchase weather radios or sign up for CodeRed, mass notification system sent to phones, text or e-mail messages.

Residents voiced their concerns during the following council meetings for Ward to repair or replace its sirens.