Salem airport demolished, National Weather Service surveys damage

NWS surveys Salem damage
[Source: KAIT]
[Source: KAIT]

SALEM, AR (KAIT) - The severe storms that pushed through the area Monday night caused extensive damage in one Region 8 town.

Salem was hit hard by the high winds that caused damage to a church building, the local school and the town's airport.

"The airplanes looked like they were just picked up, spun around and slammed to the ground," Rob Pumlee, a member of the Salem Airport Commission, said.

Due to the amount of damage in the area, the National Weather Service in Little Rock made a trip north to determine the cause of the destruction.

Officials determined that straight-line winds were to blame.

"Our damage survey, even though it's straight line winds, do have the winds between 85 and 100 miles per hour, which is actually EF1 scale damage if it was a tornado," Joe Goudsward, an on-site meteorologist, said. "So even though it wasn't a tornado, it still had the same effect because of the strength of the winds."

The strong winds blew right through the airport, leaving only mangled remnants of the five hangers, the airport terminal and the two small airplanes behind.

Members of the airport commission are now looking to rebuild, but know it will take a lot of time, work and money.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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