After Arkansas Tornado, One Town Is ‘Gone’

Violent storms bring month's death toll to 12 in the state
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2011 6:19 AM CDT
Residents of Oak Glen Residential Community are assisted by rescue personell as rising waters from a nearby creek forced them to evacuate their homes on Monday, April 25, 2011, in Johnson, Ark.   (AP Photo/Beth Hall)
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(Newser) – Violent storms wiped out much of a small town in Arkansas last night, destroying homes and leaving overturned tractor-trailers and dangling power lines in its wake. Officials believe a tornado hit Vilonia, a town of about 3,800 people 25 miles north of Little Rock, leaving a 3-mile-wide path of destruction. "The town's gone," one resident tells the AP. At least two people were killed in Vilonia and three more in other towns across the state, bringing April's storm-related death toll to 12.

One meteorologist believes other tornadoes likely touched down around the state. "It wouldn't surprise me if it were 10 or 12 tornadoes," he says. Flooding is also a problem due to heavy rains; one county sheriff's office performed more than 10 water rescues from both homes and vehicles. Gov. Mike Beebe declared a state of emergency retroactive to April 19's storms. More bad weather is expected this afternoon. Click to read about more treacherous weather.

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