Residents upset over lack of tornado warning

Residents upset over lack of tornado warning
Damage in Newport (Source: KAIT)

JACKSON COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Some Region 8 residents were still picking up the pieces Friday after storms rolled through the area Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service confirmed Tuesday that a tornado hit the White County town of Higginson that night. On Friday, NWS confirmed that the storms Wednesday morning also produced two EF-1 tornadoes that touched down in Jackson County.

"It was on us before we could hardly react," Reginal Williams said. "It got to us that fast. We didn't have any warning at all."

Williams, who serves as the Diaz Water Superintendent by day and the Diaz Fire Chief by night, is partially right.

Though the Region 8 StormTeam was on-air, warning residents to get into their safe spots that morning, the National Weather Service never issued a tornado warning for the storm.

"I feel that somebody dropped the ball. We were dropped out there as vulnerable as we could be," Reginal Williams said.

NWS did, however, issue a severe thunderstorm warning for the storm.

"Intense thunderstorm lines can produce brief tornadoes and widespread significant wind damage," the warning stated. "Although a tornado is not immediately likely, it is best to move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building."

One EF-1 tornado happened near Possum Grape at 3:13 a.m. Wednesday. Winds with the storm were estimated at 110 mph. The tornado had a 4.2-mile track and was 200 yards wide.

The other tornado also rated an EF-1 hit at 3:20 a.m. southeast of Diaz. Winds were also estimated at 110 mph. This tornado had a 1.6-mile track and was 125 yards wide.

Williams said though his home was damaged during the storm, he's just glad things weren't worse.

"I'm glad that we're here and everyone is safe, and the sun's out, and everyone can move forward," Williams said.

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