Mother nature can't let go of Arkansas

Sunday, April 6th 2008, 9:22 am
By: News 9

How much can one state take? In the past two months, Arkansas has suffered through a tornado outbreak that killed 13, a foot of snow, a foot of rain and near-record flooding.

Now a tornado has hit the capital city and Arkansans have to be wondering what's next.

Since the night of Arkansas' Super Tuesday primary in early February, the sky just hasn't stop hurling rain, wind and disaster across the Southern state.

"We've been assaulted by Mother Nature over the last few months," Gov. Mike Beebe said.

Across the state, nights are filled with red and blue emergency lights flashing across wet streets strewn with pine needles and limbs thrown by tornadoes. Days remain soaked by muddy floodwaters that lap across front doors and seep into molding furniture.

Thirteen people died after two tornadoes screamed through the state Feb. 5. One snaked over cross-country Interstate 40 on its 123-mile path.

In the time since, more than a foot of snow fell at points in Arkansas' Ozark Mountains. Swollen rivers spilled into farm pastures and bayous across Arkansas' eastern Delta region in March, killing two. Another man remains missing.

South of the capital city in Benton, Thursday's storm destroyed a dozen homes at the Hurricane Creek Mobile Home Park. Emergency workers had trouble responding because downed power lines and trees blocked the main entry road. A gas leak caused by a felled tree ignited a fire that destroyed one of the trailers.

"It was just a ball of fire," said state Sen. Shane Broadway.

Benton police Capt. Roger Gaither said a total of 70 trailers suffered some sort of damage.

"It's amazing. It's just totally amazing that no one was really hurt," Gaither said Friday morning.

Across the Arkansas River in North Little Rock, a tornado tossed private airplanes aside at a municipal airport. One plane landed on its propellor nose, standing upright against an otherwise unscathed fuel truck.

Even forecasters at the National Weather Service office at the airport had to take cover. The tornado tore down a flag pole, threw sheet metal into a car and damaged antennas, said meteorologist Dan Koch said

"It just seems like it's one thing after another," Koch said. "I think Mother Nature is out to get us."

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