Izard County declared disaster area after Wednesday night storms

Horseshoe Bend (Source: Holly Whitworth)
Horseshoe Bend (Source: Holly Whitworth)
Horseshoe Bend (Source: Holly Whitworth)
Horseshoe Bend (Source: Holly Whitworth)

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/AP) - Governor Mike Beebe today declared Cleburne, Conway, Garland, Hot Spring, Independence, Izard, Lincoln, Montgomery, Polk, Sharp, Stone, Union, Van Buren, White, and Yell Counties state disaster areas due to damage caused by tornadoes and severe storms Wednesday afternoon and evening.

Strong storms embedded with tornadoes damaged several houses, trees, and power lines across northern Arkansas. Those storms attributed to at least five reported injuries.

Dave Emerson with the Horseshoe Bend Police Department says a woman suffered a broken leg when the storms moved through the area in north-central Arkansas. Emerson tells Mountain Home radio station KTLO that most of the damage was concentrated around the Crown Lake area of Horseshoe Bend.

Numerous homes have been damaged in Horseshoe Bend after strong winds from severe weather moved through Wednesday evening.

Police say at least three homes were destroyed, and about 20 others were damaged in some way.

Gerardo Baigelt, a 13-year resident of Horseshoe Bend, tried to salvage what he could from his lakefront home after the storm literally ripped it apart.

"I was looking outside, and all of a sudden, I see the house shake," he said. "I stepped back and said - I don't want to say what I said."

Strong winds tore away his home's roof and garage and blew them into the woods across the street.

The house is currently uninhabitable, so his next-door neighbors have agreed to let him stay with them temporarily.

Some of his neighbors were much luckier to have sustained less damage.

"I think we ought to be lucky our house is still here," Thomas Ramstack said.

He and his wife, Kathy, live a few blocks from Baigelt, but their home received almost no damage despite the wreckage now surrounding it.

"Our 30-foot fifth-wheeler [camper] is on its side," Kathy said. "Our big storage building is off the foundation. Four trees are down, big trees."

They have put their cleanup on hold for now. Like many of their neighbors, they are waiting for their insurance adjuster to arrive sometime soon.

"This is the first time we've had to ever apply for insurance coverage," Kathy said. "Hopefully, they'll take care of us."

The report from a trained storm spotter with the National Weather Service also reported a number of trees in the area were down.  Several trees were also knocked down in the Evening Shade area.

Citing reports from law officers, the National Weather Service reported that a tornado hit Wednesday afternoon near Scotland, then moved northeastward near the county seat of Clinton.

Strong winds damaged a number of houses in Horseshoe Bend Wednesday afternoon according to the National Weather Service. The wind blew off the siding and caused roof damage. One building in the city is partially collapsed.  Many trees are reported down in the area blocking roads.

The strong winds also knocked down trees in Evening Shade blocking several roads. Avoid traveling through the night in theses areas if you can until the damage is cleaned up.

The National Weather Service reports a tornado touched down near Clinton, Arkansas knocking down trees along Scotland - Formosa Road. A tree was also blocking Highway 95 in Van Buren County. A house was destroyed and 18 wheeler flipped over in Botkinburg in Van Buren County.

Four people suffered minor injuries in Van Buren County, where 30 homes were damaged.

The National Weather Service is surveying areas Thursday to determine whether tornadoes or strong winds caused damage.

Region 8 News has a crew headed to Horseshoe Bend to report on the damage. We will have the updates on the damage as it becomes available.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.