Quick tor­nado drops in Jones­boro

‘Spin-up’ leaves da­m­aged apart­ment

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - KEN­NETH HEARD

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.

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