VILONIA, Ark. (AP) — A state agency has raised the death toll from a huge tornado that cut a sporadic 80-mile path through central Arkansas to 16.
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management reported on its website early Monday that there are now 10 confirmed deaths from Sunday’s tornado in Faulkner County. There are still five confirmed deaths in Pulaski County and one in White County.
The tornado was the largest of several spawned by a powerful storm system moving through the central and southern United States. It also formed a tornado that killed a person in Quapaw, Okla., on Sunday before moving northward into Kansas.
Residents of Vilonia, which was devastated by a tornado three years ago, huddled in the dark early Monday wondering how they would rebuild again, after the nation’s strongest twister this year leveled homes and businesses in their city and others nearby, killing at least 13 people.
The tornado touched down Sunday about 10 miles west of Little Rock at about 7 p.m., then carved a 80-mile path of destruction as it passed through or near several suburbs north of Arkansas’ capital city. It grew to be a half-mile wide and remained on the ground for much of that route, authorities said.
“There’s just really nothing there anymore. We’re probably going to have to start all over again,” Vilonia Schools Superintendent Frank Mitchell said after surveying what had been a $14 million intermediate school set to open this fall.
The tornado was the largest of several formed by a powerful storm system that rumbled through the central and southern U.S. Another twister killed a person in Quapaw, Okla., before crossing into Kansas to the north and destroying 60 to 70 homes and injuring 25 people in the city of Baxter Springs, according to authorities in Kansas. A death was reported in Baxter Springs, but it wasn’t yet known if it was caused by the tornado, making the Oklahoma death the only confirmed death from Sunday’s storms outside of Arkansas. The overall death toll stood at 14 early Monday.