At least 8 dead in Arkansas as tornado outbreak carves paths through towns

The town of Rogers, in the northwest part of the state, appears to have been among the hardest-hit places. "It almost feels like a war zone," one resident told FOX Weather.

ROGERS, Ark. – Some across Arkansas woke up to disaster Sunday morning after at least one overnight tornado tore through several towns, killing at least eight people across the state.

One of the hardest-hit towns was Rogers, in the northwest corner of the state.

"Shock is really the best way to describe what we're all feeling right now," Rogers resident Tiffany Rea told FOX Weather. "It feels surreal. It almost feels like a war zone. It's just completely mind-boggling."

She and her son, just two weeks shy of 13 years old, set off at first light to see if they could help neighbors.


"The town itself was pretty, pretty sad this morning. There was a lot of damage," Rea said. "So much debris. Shop windows busted out. I mean, it was really sad." 

Warning issued around 1:30 a.m.

The two have been awake since her phone's alarm sounded at about 1:30 a.m. Mom, dad, soon-to-be teen and his two younger siblings rushed to their shelter. Rea joined a call with several other families sheltering, and they played games, trying to take young minds off of the fear.

"We have had Tornado Warnings in the past, but nothing has ever hit us even close to this," Rea said.

She remembered telling the group not to worry because tornadoes always dissipate before hitting town.


"And then the sirens went off, and everything just kind of spiraled from there," Rea said. "We heard very large limbs hitting our roof and hail, and it was really just quite a shock. And it was really scary for a while there."

Rea said she was lucky. Her home and cars escaped major damage. 

"And we're very thankful for that. But at the same time, we're heartbroken for our community," Rea said. "It's such a weird mix of emotions, feeling super thankful and super sad at the same time." 

They tried to clear trees and branches from the roads, but they were just too big. So she and her son comforted their neighbors, not as lucky as the Reas, with hugs and prayers.


"A local shop owner, literally, she just fell over onto her sign and she was just crying. And that shop has been there since, I mean, it's, it's an icon in this area, and it's just so heartbreaking seeing all of the loss," Rea said.

Most of town's roads blocked by trees and powerlines

Rogers Mayor Greg Hines checked in with FOX Weather Sunday morning after becoming trapped in his home.

"We are trapped in where we're at without power," Hines said. "Trees are across the road, wrapped up, entangled in power lines."

He said the natural gas provider had to call in out-of-state teams to repair ruptured lines. FOX Weather's Max Gorden has been reporting live from Rogers and said he was immediately hit with the smell of natural gas.

Hines said the tornado cut "a pretty decent path right through the heart of town." 

"I've seen storms come through here, but this is pretty, pretty impressive damage so far," Rogers Police Officer Keith Foster said. "No fatalities, no loss of life in Rogers with all the extensive damage and very little injuries reported. Now, of course, all that can change once the Sun's up, and we can get to other areas."

Other towns were not so fortunate. So far, officials have reported that eight people have been killed in the overnight storms across Arkansas – one in Benton County, near Rogers, another in Baxter County, a third in Olvey County and two in Marion County. Three others in Arkansas were also killed during the severe weather, but no county breakdown was provided by officials.

The National Weather Service gave the Olvey tornado a preliminary rating of EF-3.

Editor's note: The preliminary rating of the Olvey tornado has been corrected.