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Tornado – At least 11 people were killed when twisters struck near Little Rock. Another person was confirmed dead in Quapaw, Okla. Nearby Baxter Springs, Kan., was heavily damaged.

 

At least 12 dead in year’s worst tornado outbreak

Arkansas tornado

Tornado damage in Mayflower, Ark. (Courtesy of James Bryant / Associated Press / April 27, 2014)

The worst tornado outbreak of the year struck several small towns across the central U.S. on Sunday, killing at least 12 people, damaging or destroying scores of homes and businesses, and sparking a search effort in Arkansas that continued into the night.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe’s office confirmed that at least 11 people were killed when twisters struck near Little Rock. Another person was confirmed dead in Quapaw, Okla. Nearby Baxter Springs, Kan., was heavily damaged.

Smaller tornadoes were reported in Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri and Mississippi, but it was in central Arkansas where the some of the most dramatic rescue scenes were playing out. A tornado — or a series of tornadoes — appeared to scour a path dozens of miles long and possibly up to three-quarters of a mile wide.

Officials said the twister crossed Interstate 40, a crucial trucking artery out of Little Rock, while drivers were still on the road, then thrashed the town of Mayflower before continuing northeast to Vilonia and beyond. The National Weather Service reported that Arkansas Game and Fish Commission headquarters east of Mayflower had been destroyed.

 

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