By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian
The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down late Friday in a rural area of Clark County.
According to Tate Chanler, director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management, the NWS in Little Rock verified an F1 tornado made contact with the ground about 6 miles northeast of Gurdon and traveled 5.5 miles before it weakened 6 miles southeast of Gum Springs. It was reportedly on the ground for five minutes, from 10:01 p.m. until 10:06 p.m.
However, Chanler said he is certain the twister’s path continued based on reports of damage in other parts of the county. “I’m pretty sure it was in the Joan area as well,” Chanler told The Arkadelphian Monday morning. “We’ll get the weather service in Joan to survey the damage later this week.”
With a peak wind speed of 90 mph, Friday’s tornado traveled in a northeastern direction at a speed of about 55 mph, Chanler said. The tornado registered as among the weakest on the Enhanced Fujita Scale; an F1 twister has wind speeds ranging from 73-112 mph and is capable of peeling roofs from homes, overturning mobile homes and pushing automobiles off the road.
Friday’s tornado left some destruction in its wake, the most notable being damage to Harts Chapel, a church on Melugin Road in the Vaden community. The church was knocked off its foundation, Chanler said.
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There were also homes damaged by wind and trees, and some campers near the church were flipped on their side, according to Chanler. “There was not a ton of property damage,” he added. “It was a fairly unpopulated part of Clark County.”
Chanler asked residents in the area of the twister to report any damage to their property by calling his office at 870-246-0013.