Arkansas Gov. Declares Emergency, Visits Tornado-Damaged Area

May 3, 2010

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe traveled to Scotland, Ark., where a tornado damaged homes Friday night, killing one woman and injuring others. Emergency management officials also were to start a county by county assessment of damage from tornadoes that hit the state on Friday and Saturday.

Beebe declared a state of emergency after visiting a community south of Little Rock that also was hard hit by the storms. The statewide declaration suspends regulations that could inhibit emergency crews from helping storm-damaged areas.

Several tornadoes hit Arkansas on Friday, and at least two more touched down late Saturday. Authorities said leveled homes, overturned vehicles and uprooted trees were scattered across central Arkansas after several tornadoes ripped through the state

The woman killed Friday was inside one of several homes destroyed by the tornadoes in the small community of Scotland, about 75 miles north of Little Rock, said Van Buren County Sheriff Scott Bradley. A tornado was spotted in neighboring Faulkner County late Saturday, while a second tornado was reported in Prairie County, about 50 miles east of Little Rock.

Two other people inside the Scotland house were hurt Friday, and one remained hospitalized Saturday, authorities said. The person’s condition hasn’t been released. In western Arkansas, a person drowned after heavy rain, said state Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Renee Preslar.

Severe damage was reported in broad swaths from near the Missouri border to the north to Saline County about 20 miles south of Little Rock, said Brian Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Little Rock. But officials were working to determine exactly how many twisters hit.

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