Brief, Brawny Storm Soaks Region Eight

August 19, 2003 - Posted at: 11:00pm

JONESBORO, AR -- If you were in the Jonesboro area around 2:00pm Tuesday afternoon, it was hard to miss the downpour, wind and lightning. Summer storms are expected on hot, humid Arkansas days, but this one seemed to surprise Region Eight residents.

"The wind started blowing and all of the sudden we heard this big thud," said Gaylon Gammill, Administrator of Ridgecrest Health and Rehabilitation Center on Highway 141.

That loud noise was a large tree that had fallen in the front yard.

Gammill said, "It fell in the direction opposite the building. It fell across the driveway, but still gave enough room that employees and emergency vehicles and all could still enter and exit as they needed to."

A downed tree hindered traffic for a while in downtown Jonesboro in front of the Union Planters headquarters on Church Street.

"Minor damage to some trees and that sort of thing," said Gene Barnett, City Street Superintendent. "A lof of leaves blowed around all over town, and a few drains stopped up, but luckily it's been fairly minor."

The top of a large tree fell on the garage of a home on North Culberhouse Street near Thomas Green Road. The owner said she only became aware of it when a city worker stopped to see if those inside of the home were safe.

The National Weather Service in Memphis issues weather advisories across the region, but none were given Tuesday.

"These down burst type thunderstorms may develop in a period of 15 or 20 minutes perhaps," said KAIT-TV Meteorologist Mark Frankum, "and the downburst itself may last only 5 minutes, and while we can sometimes spot these on radar pretty readily, in a case like today, by the time you spot it, it's gone."

Clean-up across Jonesboro has begun, and will likely finish Wednesday.