Marking the 15th anniversary of the Marmaduke tornado

Updated: Apr. 2, 2021 at 6:18 PM CDT
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MARMADUKE, Ark. (KAIT) -Friday marks the 15th anniversary of the F3 tornado that leveled Marmaduke, and memories of that terrifying event still linger.

On that day, the weather was initially nice and the skies were clear, a lot like the weather Friday. But, in almost an instant, the storm moved in.

Marmaduke Police Chief Scott Chambers was just a detective when the town was hit, and he was on the ground following the storm, when he got on the phone with Region 8 News chief meteorologist Ryan Vaughan.

“He said ‘SGT Chambers how big is it?’” Chambers said. “And you could hear the snapping of the power lines and the trees and everything hitting the truck but he asked ‘how big is it?’ And I said ‘it’s quite large.” Chambers followed his story closely with a hearty laugh.

Marmaduke High School Principal Shane Robinson recalled how school was canceled in the town for almost a month, as damage to the school caused it to be completely rebuilt.

However, his personal story of the tornado, even though he looks back at it with a laugh, was a harrowing experience with his kids and wife, who was five months pregnant.

“We decide to get into a Mercury Cougar and I guess outrun it and get back to the church,” Robinson said. “We didn’t make it. We ended up in a ditch. I guess you can say, we held on and prayed for dear life and we made it through it.”

Both men said that it was a miracle that no one in the town died or was seriously injured, as it took months for Marmaduke to make it back to some sense of normalcy.

If you drive through the affected neighborhoods, everything seems to be normal. But, for those who experienced April 2, 2006, in Marmaduke, the little differences serve as eerie scars for the community to reflect on.

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