Sunday was a horrible day. 14 people died in our state, 3 were kids. Yesterday morning, 18 kids were still in the hospital at Arkansas Children's hospital. Dozens of adults were hospitalized as well. Cameron Smith was 8 years old. Tyler Smith was 7 years old. Rebekah Tittle was 14. When we see the numbers, it's bad. When we see the names, it becomes more real and heart breaking. When we see the faces of the families that were torn apart, it's almost unbearable for me to see. If you want to help a family that lost their father and two siblings, click here: http://www.bclr.org/tittle/
Most of the day on Sunday, we were in rain and thunderstorms in northeast Arkansas. I knew that the longer we could stay cloudy and rainy, the longer we could stay stable. Andrew and I were in the Storm Center and we could see that northeast Arkansas was much more stable than the rest of the state due to the rain. We were looking at the storms developing to our southwest when the deadly storm started rotating. Here's a 3D look at the storms wind. The red/pink colors are the winds going away from the radar and the greens/blues are winds coming toward the radar:
As the storm moved northeast, it became more violent. You may have seen us talk about a "debris" ball on radar. With the advancements of radar and radar analysis, we can now see debris on radar. See the pink colored "ball":
As it moved closer to Region 8, I kept thinking that it had to weaken. The data had shown all afternoon that we were much more stable in our area, but the storm kept moving northeast. It came into White County and killed a man in his home in El Paso, AR. At this point, it appears that the storm briefly lifted, but then came back down in northern White County and destroyed some homes in the Center Hill area. Once again, I kept thinking that it would stop. It was like a raging bull and despite coming into more stable conditions, it kept marching on into Jackson County. Fortunately, it stayed west of populated areas in Jackson county and it appears that it pulled up west of Tuckerman. The NWS will be surveying the damage soon, so we will know where it ended after the survey. Based on reports from the Sheriff's department, that's when it appears to have lifted.
You may have heard me talk about using helmets. In the coming days, I'm going to be making a big push to educate people about wearing helmets in a tornado. It just makes sense. Laugh all you want, but it protects kids and could protect adults if they also take the advice. To be honest, I like that people are making funny pictures about it. There is no such thing as bad publicity and it's helping to get the word out!
I was going to type more, but I'm running out of time. I'll be LIVE on the Black River this evening.