Deadly tornado revisited, warning system examined

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - In 1968 a tornado ripped through Jonesboro and caused extensive damage.

Curt Hodges was a reporter who remembers the storm and said, "It was something that was really traumatic in the community."

Many others also remember the tornado that ripped through Jonesboro on May 15th, 1968 and remember that there wasn't much of a warning.

E-911 Director Jeff Presley said, "they had little warning of that tornado coming through, about 10 o'clock that night an F-4 tornado hit the city limits, destroyed several hundred houses, 34 people in Jonesboro did lose their life."

Presley also said that a lot has changed over the years though, "If you look back in that time no alerts, no cell phones, no apps, you might get a weather warning on the TV if you was watching that, but the electricity went out pretty quick when the tornadoes came through, so there was no advanced warning during that time."

But today, there are multiple ways to give warnings, even if the power goes out.

Tornado sirens are equipped with back-up batters, and weather radios are often battery operated.

Presley said, "The portable weather radio, just about every home we hope has a portable weather radio set to the area, so any types of watches, alerts, anything is going out they will receive those automatically."

With more ways to get warnings less people are killed because they're now prepared.

Curt Hodges was happy to know that even though there were less ways to be prepared when the F-4 tornado hit Jonesboro, his family was safe. "It's a vivid memory, one that I will always have.  I'm thankful that in both the 68' and 73' was my family or my house injured in any way, so I guess I'm fortunate."

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