Massive storms rocked the South over the holiday weekend

Victoria Stewart-Meyers, City Editor

A widespread tornado outbreak affected the Southeastern United States on Easter Sunday and Monday, April 12–13.  An extensive squall line formed and tracked through the mid-Atlantic on April 13, prompted fifteen tornado warnings and watches over these two days.

 

Over 30 people have died due to a series of tornadoes that swept through the South Saturday and Sunday, and hundreds of buildings destroyed across Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana. The damage is widespread and leveled entire areas. One area hit particularly hard is Monroe, Louisiana, triggering a state of emergency in Mississippi and Louisiana.

 

There are reports of people trapped in their homes in Monroe after an EF2 strength tornado hit the area shortly before noon on Easter Sunday. Power outage totals climbed into the tens of thousands as downed lines and damaged commercial buildings continued to mount across the region. Flights canceled, and “planes appeared to be tossed around” as severe weather blew through around midday Sunday, according to accuweather.com.

 

Arkadelphia did not escape the wrath of the storms. The South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative released a statement on April 12 regarding the line of severe thunderstorms that impacted their entire system. Entergy transmission lines power outages affected Arkadelphia, Richwoods, Antoine, Okolona, Whelen Springs, Gurdon, and Murfreesboro.  

Victoria Stewart-Meyers

The city crowded to pre-pandemic proportions with all the extra crews dispatched to assist in repairing the damaged systems and cleaning up downed trees. Due to power outages in Caddo Valley and Arkadelphia, only four gas stations were operating, and at least one had run out of gas by mid-morning on Monday the 13th. 

Victoria Stewart-Meyers

The power went out in Smith Hall on the HSU campus around 7:30 on Sunday night. The emergency power stayed on in the hallways. Still, rooms, restrooms, microwaves and showers remained dark until the power was restored around midnight on Tuesday. Because of these outages, many students got an extra week on their assignments that had been due Sunday night. The HSU dining hall served up hot dogs and hamburgers “grilled outback” during the outage.

Victoria Stewart-Meyers

The storms uprooted two massive trees in the President’s House lawn on Henderson Street. One of which caused significant damage on 11th Street,  where a four-section piece of concrete sidewalk is jutting straight up in the air. The other tree uprooted along Henderson street doesn’t appear to have caused a great deal of damage. Some of it has been cut and moved out of the road.