Short-lived storm wreaks havoc in Colt; most agricultural areas in NE Arkansas expected to recover quickly
By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
June 4, 2018
- A short-lived storm Saturday night caused significant damaged in several areas of NE Arkansas
- Delta Regional Airport in Colt destroyed
- Most ag damage appears to be minor
FORREST CITY, Ark. – A short-lived weather event late Saturday night wrought intense destruction on Colt and several other developed areas but appears to have left most farmland unscathed.
Beginning at about 11:21 p.m. Saturday, a “bow echo event,” in which the leading edge of a storm essentially outruns the rest of the storm, indicating high, straight-line winds, formed near Colt, according to the National Weather Service station in Memphis. Just nine minutes later, the event dissipated near Forrest City, Arkansas, about 10 miles to the south.
According to the National Weather Service, the brief storm carved a path two miles wide, with peak winds recorded at 100 miles per hour.
Cody Griffin, St. Francis County extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said area damage included downed power poles and electrical lines, damaged or missing roofs from businesses and homes, and the near-complete destruction of the Delta Regional Airport in Colt, which suffered damage to both hangars and planes.
“It got pretty rough here,” Griffin said. “Forrest City is still without power.”
Other reports from the National Weather Service noted at least one collapsed home with people likely trapped inside, a damaged Waffle House restaurant and two overturned semi-trailers near Forrest City.
Griffin said that most of the agricultural damage he saw was limited to blown rice levies and downed corn, which may be able to stand up again.
Neighboring counties suffered some damage as well, though to a lesser degree.
Rick Wimberley, Cross County staff chair for the Division of Agriculture, said his county had its share of downed power poles and blown levies as well.
“We were needing the rain,” Wimberley said. “We didn’t need the wind to come with it. It’ll take a while for the rice fields to dry and firm up, so they can get equipment back in the fields to patch up. We had a lot of corn that was blown over. Let’s give it a few more days, and I think the majority of it will stand back up.”
Poinsett County saw similar damage in the Wynn area, about seven miles north of Colt, with downed corn and other crop damage. Justin Chlapecka, a former extension agent, posted images of crushed and deformed grain silos between Fisher and Hickory Ridge in Cross County.
Jeremy Ross, extension soybean agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said he had received reports of damaged fields throughout counties in the northeastern part of the state, but that it will be about five to seven days before the fields can realistically be assessed. Ross said that about 800 acres of cotton in the area had been destroyed during the storm.
Griffin said Monday he planned to organize area 4-H members to aide cleanup efforts as early as Tuesday, although some members appeared to have begun efforts on their own Monday morning, based on social media posts.
To learn about disaster recovery or preparation, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit https://www.uaex.edu/environment-nature/disaster/.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service