Severe storms across the Midwest caused heavy flooding and violent tornadoes, killing 7 in Arkansas and forcing residents in a Missouri town to pack up and flee to higher ground.
Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman Tommy Jackson said four people died Monday in the central Arkansas town of Vilonia, where a tornado likely ripped through the area. In the state’s northwest, three people died after their vehicles were swept off the road.
Vilonia’s fire chief, Keith Hillman, said 40 to 50 weren’t accounted for, but he expected many simply weren’t reachable. He said he didn’t expect the death toll to rise significantly. Fire crews wrapped up work overnight and planned to resume early Tuesday morning.
“The town’s gone,” Vilonia resident Sheldon Brock said outside a gas station a few miles outside of town.
This is the actual tornado that hit Vilonia,AR. #vilonia #arwx Pic by Jesse Herdon, a friend in Vilonia.
— KFSMWX kfsmwx by SvrWxChaser
A severe storm “wiped out” an area of downtown Vilonia about 7:30 p.m. Monday, city officials said. Stephan Hawks, a Faulkner County spokesman, says one person died in the town, where a path of damage stretches three miles wide and 15 miles long, The Associated Press reported late Monday.
“It’s just a mess here,” Mayor James Firestone said. “There are trees and power lines down everywhere. Highway 64 is closed. An 18-wheeler is turned over. Only emergency vehicles are being let in. And we need them.”
Houses and businesses are gone, cars are turned over and the city is in the dark, he added.
This is an excellent firsthand detailed report…
Image credit Brandon Dayberry…So far we’re still ok here in Vilonia. It got serious real fast
Finally! I’ve been scouring to find some, any news outlet that was reporting on what happened to Vilonia…
Severe storms, including tornadoes, some of which were reported up to a half-mile wide, slammed into central Arkansas Monday night. Trained amatuer radio storm spotters confirmed cars were blown off the road on parts of I-40 and near the town of Vilonia. Storm spotters said the tornado that moved into Vilonia was a half-mile wide
WATCH Comments for any other news I find…
SvrWxChaser Bart Comstock
BREAKING: Timmer confirming pavement has been scoured off near #Vilonia, AR. Hearing more reports that town lost
JUST on TWC, Dr. Forbes said all the signatures back this up…
…a tornado emergency was declared for Vilonia, Arkansas. Initial reports indicate that a 0.5 miles (0.80 km) wide tornado caused significant damage in the town.
This HAD to be an F5:
Downburst, heavy rain, & lightning 2 miles south of Benton, Arkansas during a large tornado outbreak.