Today, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. made additional disaster assistance available to the State of Arkansas by authorizing an increase in the level of federal funding for emergency work undertaken in the State of Arkansas as a result of severe storms and tornadoes on March 31, 2023.
Under the President’s order today, Federal funds for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance has been increased to 100 percent of the total eligible costs for a continuous 30-day period of the State’s choosing within the first 120 days of the incident period.
— End of White House Statement. —
What Happened in Arkansas?
On the afternoon of April 25th, people across Arkansas could feel that something terrible was about to happen. Temperatures had soared into the 70s and 80s by 1 PM CDT with a supercell showing signs of potentially becoming tornadic in northern Pike County which eventually spread southwest over Saline County.
Then at 2:03 pm, a Tornado Warning for Little Rock (Pulaski Co.) was issued….and it only got worse from there!
At 2:18 pm an incredibly destructive tornado abruptly spun up just five miles west/southwest of Interstates 430 & 630 prompting emergency dispatchers to declare an official ‘Tornado Emergency.’
On March 28th, 2020 a powerful tornado struck Pulaski County and Lonoke counties in Arkansas. Rated EF3/165 mph on the Fujita scale at its peak intensity, it left an impressive 34-mile trail of destruction between Little Rock and Cabot.
In total there were 2,700 structures impacted with some particularly severe damage to the top floors of apartment buildings as well as leveled homes and churches around Napa Valley Drive near Interstate 430 and Jacksonville.
Sadly 1 person was killed whilst 50 people had to be admitted into hospital for their injuries caused by the catastrophic winds; power outages affected over 60,000 households across both regions too – a stark reminder of how quickly Mother Nature can change things if we are not prepared properly!
Most concerning however is that Burns Park alone lost 10 thousand trees due to this storm system’s formidable gusts.
On the afternoon of April 11th, two separate supercells spawned tornadoes in Arkansas. The first tracked from Wynne to Turrell and across the Mississippi River into Tennessee. This tornado was at least an EF3 strength, with fatal consequences for several individuals as homes were obliterated and trees uprooted or snapped along its path.
Five miles southeast Hickory Plains a weaker storm caused destruction by tipping over a truck on Interstate 55 while between Alco & Fifty-Six (Stone County), an EF2 tornado lifted roofs off buildings and even shifted houses away from their foundations before it dissipated minutes later.
This event was devastating for many, featuring nearly a thousand reports of tornadoes, damaging wind, and large hail concentrated in the north/east region around Arkansas.
At least 120 tornadoes were reported with nearly a dozen being rated EF3 or higher – making them particularly destructive forces.
The most dangerous tornado (EF4) traveled 43 miles from Ottumwa to Iowa City while an equally hazardous EF3 covered 86 miles south of Hornsby to east Hohenwald resulting in 9 fatalities.
Additionally, on April 1st history was made when another rare EF3 tornado developed which tied as Delaware’s strongest ever recorded!
Sources: THX News, The White House & The National Weather Service.