Minimal damage was reported across western Arkansas on Monday following the powerful storm system that rumbled through the central and southern United States Sunday.
“We really dodged a bullet,” Sebastian County Department of Emergency Management deputy director Aqib Kenoly said, noting the county only received routine calls about fallen limbs from high winds. Kenoly said he’s received no reports of displacement or damage to property.
Many other counties in the area shared the same assessment, noting mostly common nuisances of downed limbs, but coming out relatively unscathed.
“We had some large hail across from Rudy, to Locke, and up into Franklin County, but we haven’t had any reports of damages,” Crawford County Emergency Management Director Dennis Gilstrap said. “It looked like the two cells that were going to reach us were going to cause us some trouble, but it just dissipated, fortunately. The first wave of storms came through around 8 a.m. and the large hail came in that second storm, with the high winds and hail, but that was it.”
A tornado warning was issued between Lamar and Knoxville in Johnson County, but the twister never touched ground, according to Johnson County Road Foreman David Graves, who said his county was “very lucky.”
Graves said heavy hail was reported in that particular area but that he has had no reports of fallen trees or road hazards within the county. He said he has road crews out surveying the roads for any unreported damage.
The heaviest winds reported came from Franklin County, where winds reached speeds of up to 45 miles per hour but caused no severe damage.
“The main bodies of the storm went to the north and to the south of us; we were on the edge of where it separated, before it developed,” Franklin County Emergency Management Director Fred Mullen said. “It took down a few small limbs but we’ve not had anyone call to report damages, roadblocks or power outages.”
Michael Post of Mount Bethel Winery in Altus said there was minimal damage from hail and wind Sunday to the vineyards. Mount Bethel’s vineyard also suffered minimal damage last week from the late frost.
LeFlore and Sequoyah county Department of Emergency Management directors said storm damage Sunday in their counties was light.
LeFlore DEM Director Michael Davidson said in the Poteau area a few small trees and some power lines were downed, and a few buildings sustained roof damage, all from straight-line winds.
Davidson said power companies Oklahoma Gas and Electric and Kiamichi Electric Cooperative had restored power by 9 a.m. Monday.
Sequoyah DEM Director Steve Rutherford said the area received a little hail, a little wind and a little rain, but his office received no reports of damage.
Both eastern Oklahoma DEM directors said they’ll offer help to the tornado-stricken areas.
The storm system produced several tornadoes that resulted in an overall death toll of 14 confirmed in Arkansas, as of Monday, according to Matt DeCample, spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe.
The most powerful tornado touched down Sunday about 10 miles west of Little Rock at around 7 p.m., then carved an 80-mile path of destruction as it passed through or near several suburbs north of the state capital, including Vilonia, resulting in the loss of 16 lives.
Another twister killed a person in Quapaw, Okla.