Seven Dead After Arkansas Weather
Seven Dead After Storm Smashes Arkansas
Updated: Tuesday, 26 Apr 2011, 7:18 AM CDT
Published : Tuesday, 26 Apr 2011, 7:09 AM CDT
(NewsCore) - Emergency officials in Arkansas confirmed two more deaths Tuesday after a massive storm smashed the state, taking the death toll to seven with up to a dozen residents missing in just one small town.
The Faulkner County Sheriff's Department confirmed four people died in the county, local station KTHV reported. Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman Tommy Jackson said two of those people died in Vilonia, where a tornado wiped out part of the town.
Officials said 12 people were currently unaccounted for in the 3,800-strong town, located around 25 miles from Little Rock.
Earlier Monday flash flooding in the state was blamed for another three deaths. In northwest Arkansas, emergency officials said a couple died after floodwaters swept their car off the road in Madison County. Another woman died after her car was swept off the road in Washington County.
Power was knocked out to nearly 100,000 customers, while most of the state was under a flash flood warning as the storm moved towards Tennessee.
Gov. Mike Beebe issued a state of emergency retroactive to April 19 for the entire state.
The system hammering Arkansas and Louisiana with torrential rain and damaging wind storms is expected to track through North Carolina later this week.
So far this year, tornadoes have killed 41 people and torn apart countless neighborhoods, The New York Times reported Monday, with preliminary estimates showing there have been about 250 tornadoes this month with more to come.
The latest threats for the last week of April cap a month of ferocious storms, most recently a powerful tornado that crippled the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Friday. That storm blew out windows and ripped off part of the airport's roof, forcing authorities to shut down operations.
The National Weather Service declared the storm to be the worst to hit the St. Louis metropolitan area in 40 years.
There are, on average, 1,300 tornadoes each year in the United States, which have caused an average of 65 deaths annually in recent years.
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