Arkansas storms produce six tornadoes, National Weather Service reports

A woman surveys storm damage in downtown Rogers on May 26, 2024. (Antoinette Grajeda/Arkansas Advocate)

At least six tornadoes struck north Arkansas early Sunday morning, according to preliminary damage survey results from the National Weather Service. 

The agency’s Little Rock office announced Tuesday that two EF-3 tornadoes with peak winds of 140 miles per hour touched down in Boone, Marion and Baxter counties. One tornado’s path extended 21 miles.

A survey team returned to north Arkansas Tuesday to continue assessing the damage and is aware of at least five other possible tornado tracks that will be examined in the coming days, according to a social media post

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service’s Tulsa office on Monday reported that Benton County saw four tornadoes — two near Decatur and two more west of Centerton that produced EF2 and EF3 damage.

The agency on Tuesday reported one Decatur tornado had peak winds of 140 to 150 miles per hour. The tornado was about 1.7 miles wide and traveled for at least 7 miles.

Extensive straight-line wind damage also occurred across Benton County, into Bentonville, Rogers and the War Eagle area, according to the National Weather Service. Tornadoes also occurred at times in those areas.

Agency officials attributed a fatality that occurred when a tree fell on a mobile home east of Rogers near Beaver Lake to the straight-line wind damage. Estimated wind speeds in the area were 80 to 95 miles per hour. 

According to PowerOutage.us, nearly 32,000 Arkansans in six counties were without power Tuesday evening, down from about 68,000 Sunday night. 

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Arkansas Division of Emergency Management officials reported eight deaths on Sunday — three each in Benton and Marion counties and one each in Baxter and Boone counties — but revised that number to seven on Tuesday. 

According to a press release, ADEM received confirmation late Monday from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office that a fatality reported on Sunday was not related to the storms as was previously believed. 

“We appreciate everyone’s patience as we adjust data as updated information becomes available,” ADEM Director A.J. Gary said in a statement. “We will continue to keep the public apprised of developments as we receive information.”

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an executive order Sunday to declare an emergency and another on Tuesday to authorize paid leave for state employees affected by the storms. Sanders and other officials surveyed the storm damage on Monday.

The emergency declaration triggered the prohibitions on price gouging in Act 376 of 1997. The law prohibits businesses from charging more than 10% above the pre-disaster price of goods and services, such as food, water, medicine and construction materials. 

The price gouging ban remains in effect for at least 30 days and can be extended another 30 days. For home repairs, the law remains in effect for 180 days. A violation of the law is also a violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which carries a fine of up to $10,000.

Attorney General Tim Griffin in a statement said price gouging will not be tolerated by his office and warned Arkansans of post-storm rebuilding scams. 

“Those with storm damage should call their insurance company before paying any company or individual a deposit,” Griffin said. “Post-storm scammers will offer quick repair jobs for an immediate deposit and may even claim that insurance will reimburse the purchaser. I encourage Arkansans not to feel pressured into immediate solutions that appear too good to be true.”

The Arkansas Division of Emergency Management on Monday opened the Arkansas Disaster Relief Program for donations. Under the program, ADEM can provide funds for immediate needs in communities experiencing major impacts from a declared disaster, according to a press release.

The funds are used as additional state and federal program availability are being determined. The determination of the amount and recipient of the funds will depend on the effect of the disaster on the community and the need within the community, according to a press release. 

All donations are tax-deductible and can be made online or by mailing a check payable to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration to: 

DFA-OAS

P.O. Box 2485

Little Rock, AR 72203

To donate to a specific community with a declared disaster, write a note on the check and DFA will notify ADEM.

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