Severe thunderstorm through Arkansas leaves damage, outages across Crawford County
A fast-moving storm passed through west-central Arkansas Monday night, leaving damage to trees and power lines as well as damage to the roof of the Crawford County Courthouse.
Winds up to 90 mph hit Van Buren around 10 p.m. Currently, there is no confirmation on whether or not the damage was caused by a tornado or straight-line winds. The storm moved through the county and also left damage in Alma.
"I have spoken with dozens of residents today who are still without power, and some Concord Water and Sewer customers in the city have reported water outages," Joe Hurst, Van Buren mayor, said.
Arkansas Valley Electric reported that they had had approximately 14,500 members without power in Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Pope, Sebastian, Logan, and Scott counties.
By 3 p.m. Monday there were just under 15,000 OG&E customers without power in the service areas of east Oklahoma and west Arkansas.
"At this time, we do not know exactly how many homes received damage, but we will continue working with Crawford County Judge Gilstrap and Emergency Manager Brad Thomas on that assessment," said Hurst.
Damage to the Crawford County Court House was centralized on the roof of the building as well as many tree limbs fell across the property. Debris from the building was blown across the lawn of the courthouse and across the street to neighboring parking lots.
School districts in the area have resorted to virtual learning as many school campuses are without power.
"While surveying the damage last night, I was reminded once again just how special Van Buren is," Hurst added. "I immediately saw neighbors helping neighbors, city police, fire, street department employees, county officials, and more all working tirelessly to help,"
He went on to say that churches, businesses, and organizations have already begun recovery work with more to come.
"Although the storm recovery is just starting, I’m fully confident that this community will come together and serve all those in need," Hurst said.