Quick tornado drops in Jonesboro
‘Spin-up’ leaves damaged apartment
JONESBORO — A shortlived “spin-up” tornado toppled trees and ripped the roof off an apartment complex near downtown Monday morning as a quick-moving system stormed through the area.
There were no injuries, emergency officials said.
The twister, which was confirmed by the National Weather Service in Memphis, formed near Prestige Apartments at Oak and Rains streets in Jonesboro at about 6:30 a.m., Jonesboro E-911 coordinator Jeff Presley said.
The apartments are just southeast of the downtown area and about two blocks south of St. Bernards Medical Center.
High winds also downed trees on Arkansas 91 near the Westside School District and knocked over utility lines at Southwest Drive and Culberhouse Road in southern Jonesboro, Presley said.
The tornado, with winds of 105 mph, formed so suddenly and unexpectedly that the National Weather Service was unable to issue a warning, said meteorologist Andy Chiuppi of the National Weather Service in Memphis.
“Radar did not show anything,” he said. “It was only on the ground for about 20 to 30 seconds.”
Chiuppi said the tornado was a “spin-up,” or a brief twister formed within the outflow of a severe thunderstorm.
“A thunderstorm formed southwest of Jonesboro and it escalated pretty quickly,” he said.
Veronica Pinkard said she woke up in her Prestige Apartment home at about 6:15 a.m. when she heard heavy rain and “a loud noise.” She said she was unaware of any inclement weather forecast for the area.
“It was over so quick,” she said. “I heard the noise and looked outside. Everything was gone.”
Her husband, Ben Pinkard, said the storm tore the roof above their apartment and water was leaking through a hole by a ceiling fan.
Presley said the tornado ripped a piece of metal ornate fencing that surrounded the apartment complex, flung it across a parking lot and pierced the wall of a second-floor unit.
“It went through the wall into the resident’s computer room,” Presley said. “It was lucky it was so early in the morning and no one was in the room.”
Josh Olson, owner of Jonesboro Realty Co. which manages the apartments, said the tornado’s winds blew other pieces of the fencing through the complex’s walls and shattered windows.
“It was a freak deal,” he said.
Winds damaged the roofs of the three complex buildings, tearing off shingles and decking, Olson said. By 11 a.m. Monday, workers had covered the roofs with tarps. Olson said some residents were moved to hotels Monday while repairs were made to their residences.
The National Weather Service said Monday’s twister was the 33rd in the state this year. Last year, there were 25 confirmed tornadoes in Arkansas.
Meteorologist Charles Dalton of the National Weather Service in North Little Rock said the twister was part of a mesoscale convective system that formed a cluster of thunderstorms that grew and produced the “spin-up” twister.
Forecasters said another round of storms is likely for the northern half of the state early this morning and again this evening. Dalton said thunderstorms could form north of a line from Helena-West Helena to Northwest Arkansas.
“The western half and central Arkansas have the risk of some heavy rain and storms firing up during the day,” he said.