Last year, many of us watched as storms tore apart lives and communities across Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, and Kentucky. After events of this magnitude, images depicting seas of wreckage where homes and businesses once stood can blind us to the true nature of the loss at hand. Ranging from six days to 98 years of age, a total of 92 people lost their lives during the tornado event. They were cherished as friends or family by thousands. This article details the stories of every one of those people, as well as all of the 23 significant tornadoes that formed during this event.
The April 25-28, 2011 Super Outbreak started on an active note for the state of Arkansas. Eighteen tornadoes occurred across the state on April 25. We take an in-depth look at four of these, two of which caused fatalities.
The strongest tornado that occurred on December 19, 1957 was later rated F4. It moved through parts of Southern Arkansas from near Waldo and McNeil, northeast to near Stephens and ending NW of Buena Vista. The worst damage was near the beginning of the path.
There was one tornado reported on January 28, 1956. It hit during the late evening in Faulkner County, AR. It moved to the northeast from the Wooster area to 1 mile south of Greenbriar. The Climatological Data Summary then states the tornado “went aloft for 10 miles, returning to the ground in Barney-Enola Area.”
This tornado moved 18 miles through parts of Saline and Pulaski Counties. It developed near Bryant and moved through Alexander to west Little rock to Crystal Hill. 86 mobile homes were destroyed in Saline County. 100+ homes in west Little Rock had extensive damage. There were 53 injuries and 2 fatalities.
There were 4 tornadoes on November 18, 1985. The strongest was an F3 that moved through during the late evening through parts of Marion and Baxter Counties in Arkansas. It traveled a good 34 miles causing damage from the community of Ralph to Rea Valley to the SE part of Mountain Home to the north side of Norfolk Lake.
Per the SPC Database, a total of 44 tornadoes were confirmed on November 15, 1988. Three were rated F3 and per Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes, the tornado we are looking at in this summary should also have been rated F3. Officially though, it was given an F2 rating. It had a long, skipping path of 49 miles.
This summary looks back at an estimated F4 tornado from October 26, 1941. It crossed through parts of Ashley County, AR the town of Hamburg. Approximately 53 homes were destroyed. There were 15 fatalities.
A strong upper level system and cold front moved through parts of the south. Damaging winds and isolated tornadoes formed along the squall line. A tornado developed just south of Highway 32 west of Ashdown, AR.
It lasted 4 minutes. An F4 tornado tore through the heart of Greenwood, AR on April 19, 1968. Total path length was 2 miles and the maximum width was 300 yards. In a blink of an eye, 14 people lost their lives and there were 270 injuries reported.