A strong tornado has raked the state tonight, cutting a swath of destruction from Maumelle to Vilonia and beyond. State Police radio chatter points to heavy damage in Mayflower from a tornado that spotters say was a half mile wide when it crossed I-40. Photos published to Twitter in the last hour show big rigs tossed into heaps.
State Troopers are currently calling for ambulances and wreckers from Pulaski Co. on State Police dispatch, saying multiple people are trapped in their vehicles near Mayflower. Another Trooper told dispatch that he was going door to door in a neighborhood there, before adding “a good bit of this neighborhood is gone.” Listen to Arkansas State Police dispatch via Broadcastify.com here.
Trooper: “We’re not working any crashes now. We’re just in rescue mode.” Troopers reporting damaged cars blocking I-40 near Mayflower. Wreckers are working to clear the interstate now.
UPDATE: State Police chatter says there are two confirmed fatalities in Mayflower; I-40 Westbound almost ready to reopen. KTHV has a gallery of photos showing substantial damage in Mayflower and Vilonia.
Storm Chasers on the ground in Mayflower have been updating their Facebook page with near apocalyptic photos and video, including trucks piled on top of one another and what appears to be a large fire burning in a smashed neighborhood.
9:15 p.m. — State Police chatter just reported three children in critical condition en route to a hospital in Conway…
9:59: Troopers in Vilonia reporting massive damage there — cars on top of houses and multiple people missing.
Amateur video of the giant funnel as it passed through Mayflower.
Facebook page of a storm chaser on site in Vilonia is reporting “complete devastation” there, with many hurt and injured. “Entire town is destroyed, and the damage is definitely F5 caliber.”