8 years later: Super Tuesday Tornado - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

8 years later: Super Tuesday Tornado

Dealership post-recovery (Source: KAIT) Dealership post-recovery (Source: KAIT)
Damaged dealership (Source: KAIT) Damaged dealership (Source: KAIT)
Damaged Wing Shack (Source: KAIT) Damaged Wing Shack (Source: KAIT)
Tornado (Source: KAIT) Tornado (Source: KAIT)
Remembering Super Tuesday (Source: KAIT) Remembering Super Tuesday (Source: KAIT)
MOUNTAIN VIEW, AR (KAIT) -

Friday marks the eighth anniversary of Super Tuesday, a day not easily forgotten by many Arkansans.

 On February 5, 2008, twelve tornadoes tracked across the state of Arkansas, claiming 14 lives and leaving extensive destruction in their wake.

One of these twelve tornadoes hit close to home. Barreling through Mountain View and Highland, it was on the ground for 122 miles; the longest track on record since 1950.

Judy Powell, owner of the Wing Shack Cheeseburger Grill, was working the night the tornado hit Highland and remembers telling her employees to get in the walk-in cooler.

“Move, move as fast as you can. Get in the walk-in cooler,” Powell remembers telling them. “Don't ask me any questions, let's just go.”

Only minutes later, they walked out to find the restaurant gone and their lives turned upside down.

“All the preparation bowls were exactly where they were. They were not messed up at all,” Powell said. “What was destroyed was just totally wiped out.”

That was not the only building demolished by the tornado.

Charles Ferguson ran Mountain View Chevrolet. He left work just minutes before the tornado wiped out the dealership.

“It got the complete building,” Ferguson said. “It looked like something put its foot on it and mashed it flat.”

When the dealership rebuilt, he made sure his employees and customers would be safe should another tornado touch down.

“We needed a break room, but we also needed a safe room,” Ferguson said. “They built [the safe room]…and poured 16 inches of concrete all the way around.”

Even though many were left with widespread damage and heartache, Region 8 recovered quickly and used this devastation as an opportunity for growth.

Eight years later, you would never know the Stone County Medical Center or the Highland Fire Station were hit by a tornado.

New sirens, warning systems and tornado shelters have also been added to these areas to keep Arkansans safe in the event that another tornado comes their way.

“They have a warning system now,” Powell said of her hometown. “We have sirens here. We have designated shelters for when the storms come. People are much more alert.”

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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