Hundreds of homeowners recovering from overnight storms

Hundreds of homeowners recovering from overnight storms

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (KAIT) - Several Lawrence County businesses and homes were damaged by strong winds overnight. As you drive in Walnut Ridge, you can see multiple power lines collapsed and homes that trees fell through.

While some homes had minimal damage, others weren’t as lucky. As the city worked to restore power, others worked to get tree limbs off their roof.

“About 1:45 to 2:00 this morning my wife woke me up and said she thought a tree had fell on the house,” Kyle Smelser, who lives near Ashley Avenue, said. “So we got up and kind of looked around and it did.”

Smelser says it has been a hectic day trying to clean up and secure what they can. He says he’s thankful that no one was hurt.

This is the general theme from those in the area, as the storm came in the middle of the night.

“I did not know any of this was going on until my son-in-law came in about 2:30 this morning,” Sheila Midgett, a neighbor just blocks down the road from Smelser, said. “[He] woke me up, and checked to see if I was ok.”

For Midgett, the wind blew limbs from nearby trees all over her yard. She says she was one of the lucky ones, as none of the limbs hit her home, but she was concerned about the lack of power.

“[It’s] especially bad when you got a daughter that’s in a hospital bed,” Midgett said. “[She] needs electricity to keep her bed aired up.”

Sheila said she has 3 of her daughters and granddaughters living with her, and they’re doing their best to manage.

“As long as I can keep gas in the generator, [I’ll be ok],” Sheila said. “I [grew] up a lot with no utilities and some plumbing stuff, but you don’t realize how much you miss something until you don’t have it.”

Walnut Ridge residents cleaning up after storm

Other neighborhoods in the town felt the same effect, like Northwest 4th Street.

One house in the neighborhood had what many in the community say is one of the oldest trees in the county collapse.

“Just a lot of lightning, thunder, being scared,” 10-year-old Reid Martin said. “I mean, I was just shocked.”

The falling tree destroyed a fence, but it didn’t damage any house. One neighbor said the sound woke him up.

“Unreal, it just hasn’t all kicked in I guess,” Ryan Shoe said. “It could’ve been way worse. If that tree would’ve landed, I would’ve been houseless.”

Shoe has lived in the area for over a decade. He says the last time he saw damage this bad was the 2009 ice storm.

The one commonality between Smelser, Midgett, and Shoe? All of them say they’re lucky to make it out unharmed.

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