Storms also hit Arkansas

Tornadoes swept across southeast Arkansas Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

BY SUSAN KIM | FAULKNER COUNTY, Ark. | December 19, 2002

Tornadoes swept across southeast Arkansas Wednesday night and Thursday morning -- part of the same storm system that caused damage and injuries in southwest Missouri Wednesday.

In Arkansas, Faulkner County and the communities of Enola and Des Arc were hard hit, according to initial reports from local emergency management officials. Some areas saw such severe damage it was difficult to tell where houses once stood, said Jack Pike, spokesperson for the Faulkner County sheriff's office. "Even the fence posts were blown down."

In Des Arc, a tree fell on a 6,000-gallon butane tank, causing a leak. About 100 residents also had to leave their homes but were back in their residences by late Thursday morning, a local police dispatcher said.

The town of Vilonia also reported damage and power outages.

Flash flooding was also occurring Thursday as the storm hung over the state. Emergency officials in Arkansas said the storm system was reminiscent of one that caused widespread damage in January 1999, when eight people were killed and 56 tornadoes were reported.

In this most recent storm, at least three people have died and 33 people have been injured in Missouri and Arkansas.

A representative from Church World Service was working with local contacts to assess damages.

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