[The story below is from the Atkins Chronicle with a few edits. The picture above is also from the Chronicle. In case you didn't know, the Devil Queen is just a few miles north of Atkins. The Devil Queen and our family are fine, thank you to all of you who've asked. More posts to follow.]"Tornado devastates Atkins: Four residents die, many injured
A rare February tornado touched down in Atkins at dusk Tuesday, Feb. 5, killing four residents, injuring many more and destroying homes and property.
The tornado, which apparently began in Yell County created a path of devastation from Lucky Landing on the north side of the lake, through a neighborhood at the east end of the lake on Bluebird lane, then over the levee to heavily damage houses on both sides of Highway 105 S. The funnel cloud then traveled northeast to cross SE 4th Street (old Wire Road) where the three members of the Jimmy Glen Cherry Jr. family (his wife, Dana, and daughter Emmy, 11) lost their lives. The powerful storm then crossed Highway 64 east of Atkins and caused extensive damage to the Union Grove Free Will Baptist Church and homes along Highway 64. Another resident, Leon Fletcher, 50, who lived at Talley Lane and Happy Bend Road, was also killed when the tornado destroyed his manufactured home. As the tornado crossed Interstate 40, vehicles were blown over, among them a truck hauling bales of cotton . . .
The same storm continued to track northeast from the Atkins area causing damage in Hattieville and Wonderview and up through Clinton and then through Gassville near Mountain Home, where several more people lost their lives. Storms spawning tornadoes traveled across Arkansas until 10 p.m., with 13 known fatalities reported in the state. . .
Emergency response personnel set up a staging area in the Atkins Fire Department Tuesday night as emergency personnel went door to door in the dark checking on residents in hard-hit areas. Authorities were at the same time handling the wreckage on the highway.
Daylight Wednesday revealed the extent of the damage as homeowners and emergency crews scoured the area assessing the needs of the victims. Emergency agencies from other counties and cities as well as support from the National Guard and the State Police had arrived during the night and were still arriving. About 10 a.m. Gov. Mike Beebe's helicopter landed on the Atkins school campus. He met with local officials and the press at the Atkins Fire Station. He said paper work was in progress for declaring the storm-struck places emergency areas. "State aid will be available soon," he said. . .
Local churches sprang into action to provide food and clothing for those in need. The old Atkins High School gymnasium became a volunteer support center. A fund for donations to help the Atkins victims of the storm has been set up at Liberty Bank account number 6130437. Donations of clothing and bedding should be taken to First Baptist Church in Pottsville.
Local residents with chain saws and other equipment have turned out to help with the cleanup. During the day heavy equipment continued to arrive from other parts of Arkansas. Calls are coming in from throughout the country with offers of heavy equipment and donations. . .
Labels: disasters, miscellaneous non-house, woe