Close Call in Mayflower
The day was relatively quiet in terms of severe weather up until about 7 p.m. A severe thunderstorm began to show signs of rotation just west of Little Rock and I went east on I-40 to get a closer look. By the time I was just a few miles away, it was clear that this storm was an intense and destructive tornado with a clear debris ball signature on radar.
The sky became very dark and I knew I had to get back on the interstate and get out of there. I saw the outer edge of the tornado to the south, as well as inflow toward the west. Just as I was coming up to the stop light to turn onto I-40, the lights went out. The timing was very eerie. I quickly rushed (north) on I-40 west to get away from the storm. The sky turned pitch black and winds picked up.
I drove south and east for a few miles before turning around to see if I could catch the tail end of the storm. I didn’t see the back of the tornado, but I quickly began to see widespread significant damage in Mayflower. I went down one street and power lines were down, trees uprooted, debris in the roads and there was a foul odor of gas. I turned around as emergency personnel needed to get through. In the process I got stuck in a ditch, but I was very fortunate that some kind residents in the area quickly towed me out of there in less than 10 minutes. I did not see the full extent of the damage, but I saw enough to know that the tornado that ripped through was at least an EF-3, if not an EF-4.
I kept driving for a while, as I was still a bit dazed from what I had seen. I didn’t get the greatest video footage, but I will try to upload some later this week.
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