• Comment

Updated: Storm's death toll at 14

Posted: April 28, 2014 - 6:49am
Vilonia as day breaks Monday - Blake Irvin photo, Twitter
Vilonia as day breaks Monday - Blake Irvin photo, Twitter

Update: At noon Governor Mike Beebe announced via Twitter that the confirmed death toll from Sunday night's severe weather dropped to 14 after a "double-count" was determined in Pulaski County. "Sadly, we don't expect it to stay at 14," he said. 

Original report: The storm's official death toll is at 16 in Arkansas and 17 overall this morning. 

The tornado's path has been reported to be 80 miles, growing a half-mile wide and remaining on the ground for much of the route, according to local authorities. 

Vilonia Superintendent Frank Mitchell reports to the Associated Press the $14 million intermediate school that was set to open this fall has been destroyed. 

As daylight breaks in Faulkner County, the extent of Sunday night's damage becomes more clear. 

Authorities have blocked entrance to the more heavily damaged areas in Mayflower and Vilonia. 

Karla Ault, a Vilonia High School volleyball coach, said she sheltered in the school gymnasium as the storm approached. After it passed, her husband told her their home had been reduced to the slab on which it had sat.

"I'm just kind of numb. It's just shock that you lost everything. You don't understand everything you have until you realize that all I've got now is just what I have on," Ault said.

In Mayflower, minutes before the tornado made its way to Vilonia, Robert Gibson was in a closet with his dog, Buddy. 

He said when the power went out, he sought shelter in a closet with his small dog, Buddy. 

"I knew it was coming, it kept getting louder, I said, 'Oh my God,' and the windows started breaking," he said. "It was a weird noise, it scared the hell out of me."

Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department reports this morning Interstate 40 is open in both directions, however, westbound lanes are moving slowly as motorists are viewing Mayflower damage from the Interstate.

 

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

  • Comment