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Six states bear brunt of first March twisters

BY GEORGE PIPER | Clinton, AK | March 7, 1999

Five Arkansas counties reported tornadoes Friday night that damaged more than a dozen homes and farm structures but caused only

minor injuries. It was the latest in a string of twisters last week that scattered damage across at least six states, killing one and injuring more

than 20.

In Van Buren County, sheriff and state police officials said Saturday the previous night's storms damaged or destroyed 13 homes near

Scotland, about 60 miles northwest of Little Rock. The storms moved east to Choctaw and damaged businesses there.

Utility crews were still repairing power lines on Saturday while cleanup crews cleared trees from streets and off of buildings.

The National Weather Service also reported two homes were destroyed by a tornado Friday night near Dover in Pope County, which is

west of Van Buren County.

Farther south in Arkansas, Polk County sheriff's officials are awaiting confirmation from the NWS of a tornado that severely damaged one

home and tore roofs off of several others. High winds pushed trees onto homes and blew down poultry houses near Acorn in northern

Polk County.

Storms from Polk County headed southeast to Clark County, where a tornado damaged or destroyed four homes in Amity.

NWS confirmed at least five tornadoes touched down at the end of the week -- two each in Van Buren and Johnson counties and one in

Pope County. Weather officials planned to survey damage on Sunday in Clark and Polk counties.

On Tuesday night, twisters appeared first in East Texas. The tiny Jasper County town of Holly Springs saw 10 homes destroyed and

another 15 were damaged. Four people were hurt -- two seriously, said Billy Ted Smith, Jasper County emergency management

coordinator.

The Salvation Army established a canteen, while Holly Springs Baptist Church served as headquarters for the American Red Cross's

feeding operation. Tuesday's weather brought the third destructive tornado in the past 12 months to Jasper County, noted Smith.

The same storm system was responsible for at least six other reported tornadoes in East Texas.

As thunderstorms rumbled eastward to Louisiana Tuesday night, it produced at least one tornado in Jeanerette in the south. Twenty

residences, including four mobile homes, were reported destroyed and another 35 homes sustained damage when the storms struck

around 10 p.m. Two people were injured.

In northeast Louisiana, wind ripped the roof off the Ouachita Parish High School gymnasium in Monroe, causing the cancellation of a

basketball game.

The only reported death occurred in Millbrook, near Montgomery, AL early Wednesday when winds uprooted a tree and slammed it into

a 23-year-old man's mobile home, killing him while he slept.

The system's final damage occurred in Santa Rosa County, Fla. When a tornado touched down in a Santa Rosa County, Fla., subdivision

early Wednesday, damaging 55 homes including 20 of them severely, said county emergency management coordinator Tom Roche.

The 2 a.m. twister created a half-mile long damage path and affected more than a quarter of the 200 homes in the Country Breeze Estate in

the county's southern section. Two children sustained minor injuries from flying glass, Roche said.

Most of the subdivision's homes in the Florida Panhandle county had been built in the past decade with hurricane building code

requirements, noted Roche. Country Breeze is home to personnel from nearby Eglin Air Force Base, and many of the airmen helped with

cleanup -- "a real neighborhood effort," Roche said.

The Salvation Army set up a canteen for survivors.

About a half-hour earlier, around 1:30 a.m., a tornado caused minor damage to five homes in Okaloosa County near the Florida-Alabama

state line.

On Wednesday, Mid-Atlantic states saw high winds and rain and a reported tornado south of Richmond, Va., where 16 workers were

injured when a suspected tornado touched down near a steel mill construction site in northern Dinwiddle County at 5:30 p.m.

Winds whipped up debris and tore through construction trailers, pinning two of the workers beneath.

While Southern states were greeted by tornadoes, states in the northeast were buried under an usually late season snow. More than two

feet of snow was reported near Rochester, NY.

As still another snowstorm worked its way out of the Upper Midwest Saturday night, forecasters were warning residents in the Rochester

area to expect about another foot of snow with predicted wind chills approaching 30-degrees below zero.


Related Topics:

Wicked weather hits NE Texas

Tornado hits Michigan town

Tornadoes tear through Illinois and Midwest


More links on Tornadoes

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