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Damage assessments, clean up continue in northeast Arkansas after weekend tornadoes

Heavy equipment was being used Monday in Augusta, Ark. to help in the cleanup following tornadoes that hit the region late Friday.
Jay Bir
Heavy equipment was being used Monday in Augusta, Ark. to help in the cleanup following tornadoes that hit the region late Friday.

A slow cleanup continues in northeast Arkansas after tornadoes cut through the region late Friday. Crews are going through the ruble, clearing roads and restoring electricity.

Five states were hit by twisters, with Kentucky suffering the worst destruction. At least 64 people were killed there, while two died in Arkansas, officials report. One death was at a nursing home in Monette, with the other at a Dollar General store in Leachville.

Damage assessments have been ongoing since Saturday. The National Weather Service said on Twitter it had a crew going through Poinsett, Craighead and Mississippi counties on Monday to determine exactly how powerful the storm was.

"These surveys will take some time to complete but information will be released as it becomes available," the tweet from the Little Rock office said.

With the expectation that a federal disaster declaration will be issued, people who sustained property damage are urged to file reports with their insurance providers.

The American Red Cross has volunteers and staff providing assistance throughout northeast Arkansas, said spokesman John Brimley.

“We’re eternally grateful to the local volunteers who have stepped up to provide assistance and kind of do some of the work on the ground to help out their fellow neighbors and their communities,” he said.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Brimley says blood products were sent to hospitals to treat those who were injured. Now the organization is working to help those who were displaced by the tornadoes.

“Whether large or small, whether we’re talking about a complete destruction of property where necessary, we talk about partnering with the local agencies in the community, whether that be with helping out with shelter in one way or another or food,” Brimley said. “Anything along those lines that we can provide, any type of relief for those that have been impacted is what we’re here to do.”

Michael Hibblen was a journalist for KUAR News from May 2009 — December 2022. During his final 10 years with the station, he served as News Director. In January 2023, he was hired by Arkansas PBS to become its Senior Producer/ Director of Public Affairs.
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