May 1, 2003
Posted at: 10:18 p.m. CDT
BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. -- Powerful wind and heavy rain hit many parts of Region 8 on Thursday. In Mississippi County, straight-line winds downed trees and power polls.
"All of the sudden (the wind) just come up," Keely Ruddick said. "I'm like: 'What am I gonna do?' Because I walked over here, and luckily a friend of mine come through and we jumped in his truck with him."
Shortly before noon, a towering tree in downtown Blytheville became a stack of splinters.
"We were sitting here in the drive waiting for traffic to come through," Ruddick said. "And the next thing we know this tree just falls down on the right. I said: 'Get me out of here. I'm ready to go home.'"
Johnny Miller owns an amusement ride facility in Blytheville. Damage caused by the felled tree will put one his $300,000 amusement rides out of commission for about two weeks.
"(The ride) will have to go back to the factory," Miller said. "There's probably, could be anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000 damage on that.
On the east side of Interstate 55 in Blytheville, power to many customers was knocked out because of Thursday's severe storms.
"We just had a hard straight line wind that took some poles down," Entergy troubleshooter Joel Baker said. "We had an interstate crossing go down that had two feeder circuits on it."
Because of the loss of assets, electrical service had to be re-routed around the break to restore service to about a 1,000 customers.
"I guess it's good ol' Arkansas storms," Miller said.