National Weather Service determines Monette tornado was an EF4

State News

A damaged nursing home in Monette, Arkansas (Melissa Moon, WREG)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Crews with the National Weather Service have determined that the deadly tornado that ripped through Monette, Arkansas, last Friday night was rated as an EF4.

According to the NWS office in Memphis, the tornado started in Craighead County, Arkansas, and stretched all the way to Obion County, Tennessee, creating a path 80.3 miles long that reached a maximum width of 1,800 yards.

The tornado was one of four in Arkansas listed in the incident report from the NWS Memphis office. The agency also tracked an EF1 tornado in southern Craighead County, an EF0 in western Poinsett County and another EF0 west of Bay.

A 94-year-old man, Golden Hembry, died after the tornado caved in the roof at the Monette Manor nursing home. The Korean war veteran and COVID-19 survivor was in a hallway at the time.

The NWS classifies EF4 tornadoes as “devastating” with wind gusts between 166 and 200 miles per hour. It is the second-highest rating for a tornado the agency uses.

Before Friday, the last time an EF4 tornado hit Arkansas was during a storm in Vilonia in 2014.

The Little Rock office of the NWS also reported four tornadoes in its coverage area. The strongest of the storms was an EF2 that cause a great deal of destruction near Augusta, running for just over nine miles and stretching to 500 yards at its widest point.

A tornado near Weldon was rated as an EFU, or unknown, while two tornadoes near Beedeville and Diaz were each rated as EF1.

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