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Tornado leaves path of damage through central Ark

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04/04/2008 12:34 PM
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Tornado leaves path of damage through central Ark
Tornado leaves path of damage through central Ark.

Yahoo! Buzz Digg Newsvine Reddit FacebookWhat's this?From staff and wire reports
A tornado left a path of damage through central Arkansas Thursday night and storms continued Friday, complicating efforts to restore electricity and assess damage.
The storm apparently first touched down in suburbs southwest of Little Rock, then moved northeast through the city and continued through northern suburbs. It damaged areas of the central part of Little Rock and moved past the National Weather Service office in North Little Rock, where the airport also sustained damage to hangars and aircraft.

WEATHER GUYS BLOG: South braces for more storms, floods Friday
ON THE SCENE? Send us your photos

Entergy Arkansas spokesman James Thompson said there were 38,500 customers without power Friday morning. That includes 8,200 in the Jacksonville and Cabot areas, 9,300 in Hot Springs and 1,300 in Faulkner County.

Thompson had no estimate for when power would be restored. He said numerous power poles were broken by the high winds and that numerous lines are down.

FIND MORE STORIES IN: National Weather Service | Jacksonville | Interstate | Bryant | Hot Springs | North Little Rock | Shiloh | Conway | Arkansas River | Benton | Daisy | James Thompson | Saline County
"It's going to be a long day," Thompson said.

Pulaski County officials said trees were down Friday morning and there was flooding at Gravel Ridge in the North Little Rock area.

The damage began as the storm moved into Saline County, southwest of Little Rock. Damage was reported at a shopping center and car dealership near Interstate 30 between Benton and Bryant. Eyewitnesses said cars were flipped by the high winds.

In the Cammack Village area, a small community surrounded by Little Rock and the Arkansas River, residents were walking their dogs Friday morning and looking at the damage.

Steve Bauman, 55, said he and his wife hid in an interior bathroom of their house after a tornado siren sounded for the second time Thursday night.

"We felt the house shaking so we figured it hit on the back of the house," Bauman said. The high winds lopped off the top of a pine tree in the Baumans' backyard, and a limb pierced the cathedral ceiling of their bedroom. Bauman said slept to the sound of water dripping into a pot he placed under the hole.

Neighbor Jeff Melville, 45, said his front door began to shake as the storm passed.

"I didn't move fast enough, I should have been (away from) there five minutes earlier," Melville said while his dog Daisy sniffed at fresh pine needles blown down the night before. "I grabbed her, touched the front doorway and ran to the hallway," he said. Melville's home suffered shingle damage, though downed limbs lay scattered in the neighborhood's small park.

Gregory Greene, 39, watched as the tornado passed through part of Little Rock.

"I thought I was going to die," Greene said.

As the storm continued northeast, scattered damage was reported in the Gravel Ridge and Jacksonville areas, mostly to trees and power lines.

In Lonoke County, there is damage reported at the Ward Central School and surrounding areas. There was also damage reported in the Cabot area. Trees were downed in the downtown area while damage was also reported in the Shiloh area. The Cabot Zones Kidz Spotz daycare will be closed Friday.

A separate storm Thursday, possibly a tornado, caused damage in Conway. Trees were downed across parts of Faulkner County.

As early as last weekend, forecasters had warned of a severe weather outbreak Thursday night.

Over the past two months, parts of Arkansas have endured an EF4 tornado during a storm outbreak that killed 13, a foot of snow, upward of a foot of rain and near-record flooding.
[link to www.usatoday.com]