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Arkansas nursing home struck in storm; 1 person dies

by Grant Lancaster | December 11, 2021 at 4:48 a.m.
The National Weather Service in Memphis issued this tornado warning for an area of northeast Arkansas, including Monette, at 7:18 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. (Courtesy National Weather Service)

At least one person died in Northeast Arkansas late Friday when a reported tornado struck a nursing home, officials said.

Five other people were seriously injured, the officials said.

The National Weather Service reported that severe thunderstorms and tornadoes rolled through Arkansas and several other states during the night. Arkansas officials worked overnight to determine the extent of the damage and injuries.

The Monette Manor nursing home in Monette received significant damage from a reported tornado, with initial reports suggesting that about 20 people had been trapped inside, Craighead County's County Judge Marvin Day said. Day declared a state of emergency in the county at 9 p.m.

The National Weather Service in Memphis confirmed that a tornado touched down in Craighead County at 8:33 p.m.

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First responders in the area, including from Jonesboro, were conducting search and rescue operations late Friday, said Latresha Woodruff, Arkansas Division of Emergency Management spokesperson.

The agency had also received reports of structures damaged and power lines down in Leachville in Mississippi County, Woodruff said. She did not know late Friday if there were any injuries in that area.

The National Weather Service in Memphis also reported a possible tornado strike near Trumann, in Poinsett County, around 9:20 p.m.

KAIT Region 8 News reported that there was large-tornado damage in the town north of Interstate 555.

Woodruff did not have any information about the storm damage near Trumann just before 10 p.m., and personnel with the Poinsett County sheriff's office did not comment, saying they were "in the middle of a crisis."

Gov. Asa Hutchinson tweeted about the tornado in Mississippi County at 8:27 p.m., saying first responders were at the scene.


Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin on Twitter shared a news story about the damage, calling the images "heartbreaking" and requesting that Arkansans join him in praying for communities like Monette, Leachville and Trumann., a website that tracks power outages, reported about 5,500 customers were without power in Craighead County and about 5,100 were in the dark in Poinsett County just before 11 p.m., with about 28,100 outages reported across the state.

Shortly after 10:20 p.m., a tweet from the National Weather Service in Memphis indicated that the second wave of storms was passing through Northeast Arkansas, moving in from the west.

The fatality in Monette is the first tornado death reported in Arkansas since Feb. 24, 2018, when an EF2 tornado struck in Clay County, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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