A tornado swept through the Arkansas capital and surrounding areas on Friday, causing severe damage to the region. The tornado reduced rooftops to splinters, toppled vehicles, and threw debris on roadways, prompting people to run for shelter. The Little Rock Fire Department reported heavy damage and debris in the western part of the city, stating on its Facebook page that firefighters were conducting rescue operations in the area.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center in Little Rock was operating at a mass casualty level and was expecting at least 15 to 20 patients from the tornado, according to spokesperson Leslie Taylor. While several people had already been transported to the medical center, an exact count was not immediately available. More than 350,000 people were at risk from what the National Weather Service called a "confirmed large and destructive tornado" that tore through business districts and neighborhoods in Little Rock and North Little Rock.
The hazardous weather condition is a result of strong southerly winds transporting copious amounts of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico north, where they will interact with the strengthening storm system. The weather service is forecasting another batch of intense storms next Tuesday in the same general area as last week, with the first 10 days of April expected to be rough. At least the first 10 days of April will be rough, according to Accuweather meteorologist Brandon Buckingham. In light of the situation, people are advised to have a severe weather plan in place that includes multiple ways to receive storm warning information.