Friends Remember AR Grandmother, Killed in El Paso Tornado

EL PASO, AR ( -- A 55-year-old grandmother is among the dead in Arkansas. Paula Blakemore was killed when a tornado hit her double-wide trailer in El Paso Sunday night. Nothing is left of where Blakemore's home was. Stairs used to lead her front door. Now there is not one there. The spot where the grandmother lived is unrecognizable for those who knew Blakemore. The fact that she is gone is hard to accept. 

“Nobody thinks it's ever going to happen. It's never going to hit them,” Daniel Byrd said. 

Tossed about the yard are bricks, a mailbox and a microwave: remnants from her home. One her many pets, a dog named Boss, is staying under her truck, keeping watch over it all, but refusing to leave. 

Elizabeth and Daniel Byrd
knew Blakemore.

“She had a handful of dogs. Little ones. Five or Six plus a litter of puppies. Big animal lover,” Byrd said. 

Blakemore was well loved in the small town of El Paso, Arkansas. She designed homes and has a large
family, now in mourning.

“We were fortunate to know her and be part of her life when she was here,” Byrd said. 

Michael Howard was visiting a friend a mile away and says he saw the tornado coming. 

“You could kind of see the sky rotating. All kinds of flashes. I remember seeing it come over the hill and I was like, 'oh, God, here it comes,'" Howard said. “We were getting ready to go to the basement all of a sudden you see all this debris falling out of the sky. The trees were completely still. You could hear it coming though.”

Looking at the damage today he, like everyone else, is very mindful of how lucky they are to survive. Everywhere you look there is more damage, evidence of how strong this storm was. 

The National Weather Service is not going to make it to El Paso until Tuesday. Right now, meteorologists believe it was at least an EF-3 tornado with winds upwards of 136 miles per hour.

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