• Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

Walnut Ridge continues to clean up after severe weather


WALNUT RIDGE, Ark- It's been two weeks since severe weather hit Walnut Ridge, causing damage to the town.


Damage in debris still covers the side of roads in Walnut Ridge after 110 mph wind hit the town.


Now, two weeks later, fire chief Chris Jones says the clean-up process is still underway.


“We’re on definitely the downhill side. We’ve hauled over four hundred loads of storm debris, brush, limbs, trees to two different burn sites that we’ve had approved through A.D.Q.,” he says.


Crews are still going around the town picking up debris left by the early morning May 4th, 2021 severe storm.


In total, 127 residential buildings and homes were impacted; ranging from receiving minor damage to destroyed.


That does not count the number of commercial buildings that were also damaged.


Chief Jones says some businesses are still in the process of re-opening.


“Barton’s they’re got a set of plans together on how they’re gonna… re-build their storage facility that was heavily damaged. And some of the other businesses in that area are either back open or are in getting really close to getting really back open.”


Chief Jones recalls what he says was a “dark and scary night” after the storm hit as 911 calls flooded in.


“Checking homes and making sure everybody in the homes were safe. Then later that day once, it got daylight, we started the clean-up process then,” he says, thinking of the night.


Outside help from Batesville, Inboden, Jonesboro, Paragould and Lawrence County came to Walnut Ridge to help clean up.


The fire chief hopes this serves as a reminder to be more weather-aware.


“Understand that a severe thunderstorm warning, which was what we were under at the time, can be just as dangerous as a tornado,…which is a proven point here,” says Chief Jones.


The town is still waiting to hear if walnut ridge will be declared a state or federal disaster zone.

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