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Severe weather, tornadoes kill 8 Arkansans


Severe weather, tornadoes kill 8 Arkansans

May 27, 2024 | 12:01 am ET
By Antoinette Grajeda
Severe weather, tornadoes kill 8 Arkansans
Severe weather that resulted in downed power lines that left thousands in north Arkansas without power, including in Rogers where broken traffic signals caused traffic to back up along Walnut Street on May 26, 2024. (Antoinette Grajeda/Arkansas Advocate)

State and federal officials said partnerships will be key to recovering from severe weather that caused widespread damage Sunday morning and killed eight people in north Arkansas.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press conference at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office Sunday night that there’s a long road ahead, but officials are committed to helping affected Arkansans get back on their feet. 

“In the midst of total devastation, the bright points are all of the people coming together and taking care of one another and looking out for their neighbors and their community and doing whatever it takes to help get people taken care of,” Sanders said.

The National Weather Service found EF-3 tornado damage in Benton County and confirmed one tornado in Boone County. Additional details will be released as surveys of the damage are complete. 


Arkansas Division of Emergency Management Director A.J. Gary said a team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency arrived around 3 p.m. Sunday and was working with local officials to conduct a preliminary damage assessment. 

State emergency management officials and the governor on Monday are scheduled to survey the destruction in Northwest Arkansas, where there is an abundance of damaged trees and downed power lines. 

About 68,000 Arkansans remained without power in eight counties Sunday night, according to PowerOutage.us.

A.J. Gary, Barry Moehring, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Steve Womack
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, flanked by Arkansas Division of Emergency Management Director A.J. Gary, Benton County Judge Barry Moehring and U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, provides an update on storm damage during a press conference on May 26, 2024 at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. (Antoinette Grajeda/Arkansas Advocate)

According to state officials, Benton and Marion counties each had three confirmed deaths and Baxter and Boone counties each had one. Benton County Judge Barry Moehring, who declared a disaster Sunday, noted that two of his county’s fatalities included deaths related to the storm, such as a local resident with COPD who did not have oxygen when the power went out.

Sanders signed an executive order Sunday to declare an emergency and authorize funds for the severe weather, tornadoes and flooding caused by the storms. 

Former Rogers mayor and current Congressman Rep. Steve Womack at Sunday’s press conference asked Arkansans to be patient because recovery will not happen overnight. He also promised to work with federal officials to support his home state. 

“Sen. (John) Boozman, myself, Sen. (Tom) Cotton, and other members of the federal delegation are going to engage the federal bureaucracy and whatever we need,” Womack said. “I’m absolutely confident that we will put the right pressure on the right people to make sure that we get a speedy, a very timely response to this particular disaster.”