KARK 4 News & FOX 16 News will have special live coverage Saturday morning with the latest updates on the tornado damage in the Little Rock metro and many other areas of Arkansas. Tune in live starting at 7 a.m. on-air or online at KARK.com & FOX16.com.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The state of Arkansas is in a state of emergency after multiple destructive tornadoes ripped through the state Friday.
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an executive order Friday afternoon to provide funding for the immediate response and recovery from the severe weather that rammed the state.
“We will spare no resource to assist with response and recovery efforts for Arkansans impacted,” Sanders tweeted.
Later in the day as tornado damage throughout the state began to mount, the governor also activated the Arkansas National Guard. Approximately 100 Guardsmen will provide traffic control and help crews crew routes, many of which were blocked by downed trees.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said he had requested support from Sander and the Arkansas National Guard. He added that city emergency personnel are responding to impacted areas and that city first responders and public works staff will be working overnight to clear roadways, starting with major arterial routes.
“Recovery efforts for our city and its residents will be long, but we are resilient,” Scott said. “We will continue to work together to move from this natural disaster stronger than before.”
In the capital city, local hospitals were beginning to report growing numbers of patients Friday evening. Baptist Health, CHI St. Vincent, UAMS and Arkansas Children’s hospital all reported patients with storm-related injuries, with Baptist noting it had five patients in critical condition between its facilities in Little Rock and North Little Rock.
Just after 7:30 p.m., Pulaski County officials confirmed a death tied to the damaging storms, with the County Coroner’s Office saying one person in North Little Rock had died.
Emergency shelters are opening at multiple locations in Little Rock. The American Red Cross is opening a shelter in Little Rock at Calvary Baptist Church, 5700 Cantrell Road.
The City of Little Rock is opening a temporary emergency shelter for people displaced by the storm at Hall STEAM Magnet High School at 6700 H Street.
City officials added that Rick Region Metro was also providing transportation services for those in need.
Wolfe Street is opening its facility as a shelter Saturday, serving breakfast at 8 a.m., lunch at noon and a dinner at 5 p.m. They are also offering services for people to use bathrooms, charge cell phones and get some water or coffee.
In North Little Rock, an emergency shelter was established at the NLR Community Center located at 2700 Willow Street. Officials said storm victims may also bring their pets. The First Baptist Church in Jacksonville has also opened a shelter for displaced residents.
DAMAGE AROUND THE STATE
There are reports of damage in the Colony West shopping center near North Rodney Parham and I-430. Roofs were torn off of buildings, cars were flipped over and trees were down in the area.
In eastern Arkansas, the small city of Wynne also saw massive damage, with the high school being hit hard by the storm.
Shortly after 8:30 p.m., the St. Francis County coroner confirmed at least two deaths in Wynne.
The damage led to massive power outages across Arkansas, with more than 90,000 customers without service around 7 p.m.
A Tornado Watch remains in place for much of Arkansas until 10 p.m.