NWS rates Arkansas tornado as high end EF-4

LITTLE ROCK, AR  (KAIT) – Wednesday, the National Weather Service in Little Rock rated the tornado that devastated the communities of Mayflower, Vilonia and Center Hill as an EF-4, the second-highest rating given by the agency. An EF-4 tornado is classified as a tornado with wind speeds less than 200 miles per hour.

Sunday, the tornado started in central Arkansas and traveled roughly 80 miles before entering White County. The tornado killed one person in White County. Another 14 people were killed in severe storms Sunday afternoon and evening. Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed.

Wednesday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency urged survivors of the storms to register for assistance. President Barack Obama approved a major disaster declaration in Faulkner County at the request of Governor Mike Beebe.

The only tornado that's been documented as an F-5 rating was April 10, 1929, when a tornado tore through Independence, Jackson and Lawrence Counties. That storm started south of Batesville, passed north of Swifton and ended just southeast of Alicia. The storm killed 23 people and injured 59.

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