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7 tornadoes confirmed, 3 killed in Mena

So far at least seven tornadoes have been confirmed in Arkansas from last week’s deadly storms. In Mena, the storm killed three and injured thirty more.<br><a href="http://www.fox16.com/mediacenter/local.aspx?videoId=75240"target="_blank"> Raw Video: Tornado near Sevier County Jail</a>
So far at least seven tornadoes have been confirmed in Arkansas from last week’s deadly storms. In Mena, the storm killed three and injured thirty more.

"This has become old hat for ADEM, we've had five federal disasters, the ice storm, and then Thursday night, that was a big one," said Tommy Jackson.

In DeQueen, the tornado destroyed several trailers, but there are no serious injuries.  Further north, in Mena, an EF3 tornado killed three, including 84-year-old Anna True Cress.

"She was a devout member of the Eastern Star, and a firm believer in Almighty God," said Joe Jeffers.  Jeffers took cover inside the Masonic Lodge when the tornado touched down. Several cinder blocks fell on him, but he walked away with minor injuries.

"It felt like the building exploded down on us, the cinder blocks went everywhere. When you look at the structure today, you have to wonder how anyone got out of it," said Joe Jeffers.

"It was the scariest thing, I'm thankful there weren't more people who died," said Sandy Baker.

"It was incredibly terrifying, it's not like the tornado was over there it was here. I watched trees, 70 foot tall, get ripped out of the ground, like they were nothing, flying my way," said Luis Muniz.

Thursday night, the EOC, Emergency Operations Center was activated. Once the tornado touched down, within minutes the Arkansas Guard was dispatched.
"It will stand together, and come together, we'll do the best we can. It's a grievous tragedy, it's a sad day in Mena," said Fred Key.

So far, Governor Mike Beebe has declared three counties, Howard, Sevier and Polk disaster areas. The National Weather Service confirmed an EF3 tornado did hit the town of Mena in Polk County.

Aside from 84-year-old Anna True Cress, 47-year-old Judy Lobner, and 61-year-old Albert Shaw were killed in the tornado.

Coroner provides names of 3 killed by twister

MENA, Ark. (AP) - The Polk County coroner has identified the three people who died Thursday night when a tornado hit Mena. Coroner Richard W. Myhand told The Associated Press that those killed were:

84-year-old Anna True Cress, killed at the town's Masonic Lodge, where she was attending a meeting of the Order of the Eastern Star.

47-year-old Judy Lobner, who died in her daughter's home. Myhand said Lobner's daughter was outside the home when the tornado hit, but survived.

61-year-old Albert Shaw, who died when his two-story home was hit by the storm and collapsed.

Thirty other people were injured during the storm. Gov. Mike Beebe says one of those injured is in critical condition.


(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

First look at Ark. damage makes twister `EF3'

MENA, Ark. (AP) - An initial survey of tornado damage at Mena suggests the community was hit Thursday night by a twister packing winds of at least 136 mph.

Forecaster John Robinson of the National Weather Service at North Little Rock said Friday that damages suggest the storm was "at least an EF3." Tornadoes are rated by the amount of damage they cause to buildings, trees and infrastructure.

An EF3 storm has winds between 136-165 mph. The weather service survey continues and it is possible that the tornado could have had higher winds.

Three people died in Thursday's storm and more than two dozen people were injured.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Some ignore siren as tornado strikes Ark. hamlet

Hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
Hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
Hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
Hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
Hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
Hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
Hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
Hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
Hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
Hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
Hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
Hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
Hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
Hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
hail in Benton (Ken Chrisman)
Hail in Haskell
Hail in Haskell
House damaged by tornado in Mena
House damaged by tornado in Mena
Tornado damage in Mena
Tornado damage in Mena
Tornado damage in Mena
Tornado damage in Mena
Damage in Mena from tornado
Damage in Mena from tornado
Tornado causes major damage in Mena
Tornado causes major damage in Mena
Photo taken from security camera at the Sevier County Jail April 9 (Courtesy: Sevier County Sheriff's Dept)
Photo taken from security camera at the Sevier County Jail April 9 (Courtesy: Sevier County Sheriff's Dept)
MENA, Ark. (AP) - The sirens sounded three times across Mena last night, and residents watched several funnel clouds pass harmlessly over town. The fourth siren was for another twister that ended up being a killer.

While many took cover immediately in the basement of the county courthouse, others stayed home, only to glance out their windows just in time to see the black funnel descend on the community just east of the Oklahoma line. At least three people were killed, at least 30 others injured and 600 homes were damaged or destroyed.
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Polk County Sheriff Mike Oglesby says the tornado seemed to pop out of nowhere.  The tornado was part of a line of storms that continued wreaking havoc in the South on Friday. The National Weather Service said a tornado destroyed two homes in southwestern Kentucky, and authorities near Nashville, Tenn., said multiple tornado touchdowns were reported.

Oglesby said search-and-rescue teams had combed through the city's downtown and a neighborhood just west that sustained the brunt of the storm without finding any other victims. The sheriff said he had no reports of anyone else missing in the city of 5,700 in the Ouachita Mountains.

Weather service forecaster John Robinson says an initial survey of the damage suggests the tornado packed winds of at least 136 mph.

Basic tornado safety rules call for people, when warned, to go to the lowest floor in a building and put as many walls as possible between themselves and outside. A warning was posted at 7:24 p.m. Thursday night for areas north of Mena and another one went up for the community at 8:01 p.m. - nine minutes before it hit. The reason for four separate sirens wasn't immediately clear, but Robinson said some communities cannot run their sirens continuously because their motors will burn up.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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