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Arkansas elected officials assess tornado damage in downtown Rogers

A truck sits on Fourth Street in downtown Rogers crushed by a tree that fell from severe weather on Sunday morning.
Matthew Moore
A truck sits on Fourth Street in downtown Rogers crushed by a tree that fell from severe weather on Sunday morning.

The whir of chainsaws reverberates throughout Rogers on Monday as elected officials make their way down Fourth Street. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders surveys massive trees that have been uprooted. She said at this phase, it’s important to see everything firsthand and assess where the greatest needs are.

“Having every entity from the city, county, state, and federal side seeing and being able to look and make those assessments at the same time makes a big difference," Sanders said. "And then we kind of collectively work together on who will take which piece of it.”

She said one of their main goals at this point is to get a consistent message out to residents about how to best streamline the process of cleaning up.

“It’s certainly not going to be super quick," Sanders said, "but we want it to be as efficient as possible. So people have guidance on how to do it and where best to place that stuff so it can be hauled off is going to make a big difference in us doing it quickly.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Womack said walking the streets of Rogers and seeing the devastation is pretty personal to him.

“I spent 12 years of my life leading this city," Womack said. "I know a lot about it, I know a lot about the heart of the people here. It’s a resilient community. But, even among the most resilient, this is hard to take.”

U.S. Sen. John Boozman said it’s reassuring to hear the chainsaws; he’s been encouraged by the community members he’s seen out helping one another.

“We’ll be able to come back here a week from now and it will be totally different,” Boozman said.

As of 9 a.m. on Monday, electric company SWEPCO reports approximately 15,000 customers are without power and more than 300 utility poles are down at this time.

Matthew Moore is a reporter and producer for Ozarks At Large. Before going into journalism, Matthew spent time in the music production industry, working with artists such as Reba McEntire, Steve Martin, 2 Chainz and Chris Thile.