'My house is gone': Survivor of deadly Wynne tornado describes devastation in Arkansas town
Trees around Wynne could be seen knocked over like chess pieces after a massive tornado came through the town. Some homes had their roofs peeled off, exposing the once-hidden wooden beams and layers of insulation. Other homes were leveled. After an extensive review, officials confirmed that the tornado had EF-3 damage.
WYNNE, Ark. – Extensive damage was seen Friday after a deadly EF-3 tornado ripped through the northeast Arkansas town of Wynne, located about 50 miles west of Memphis, Tennessee. At least four people died in the storm, according to government officials.
"I'm in shock right now, but I'm praying everybody's OK," resident Trish Arnold told FOX Weather multimedia journalist Will Nunley.
Trees around town could be seen knocked over like chess pieces. Some homes had their roofs peeled off, exposing the once-hidden wooden beams and layers of insulation. Other homes were leveled.
"My house is gone," Arnold said.
DRONE VIDEO SHOWS DAMAGE FROM TORNADO IN WYNNE, ARKANSAS
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Walter Lawrence also survived a direct hit from the tornado.
"I had seen a big dark cloud coming up and it kept getting wider and bigger as it comes," Lawrence told FOX Weather. "And just soon as I went in that house, all of a sudden it’s like a suction — it sucked all the air; I couldn’t hear anything. But when it got hit, it slammed me up against the wall before I could react to anything."
A nearby high school experienced significant damage both inside and out. Walls and the roof were blown out, allowing light from the setting sun to shine through. Light posts on the football field had crashed to the ground, scattering glass from the light bulbs on the track.
According to Arnold, who lives near the high school, students were let out at 1:30 p.m. CDT. The tornado struck just a few hours later – a timing she called a "blessing."
Nunley said emergency responders were on the ground assisting residents. He added, however, the people of Wynne were also out to support each other.
"You see just literally the entire town out right now on foot," Nunley said. "They're going door to door to check on one another."
"You can see people, very emotional right now," he added. "You can read it on their faces as they're wanting to check on their town."
Multiple tornadoes caused significant damage across Arkansas on Friday, leading Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders to declare a state of emergency for the Natural State.