Sunday storm causes 'widespread' damage, power outages around Arkansas

A tree limb blocks a street near Wildwood Avenue in Sherwood after strong straight-line winds blew through Arkansas on Sunday, June 25, 2023. (Kathy Atkinson/Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

The National Weather Service in Little Rock on Sunday reported "widespread" damage across Arkansas from winds that "easily" ranged between 60 and 80 mph.

"It's likely that some locations experienced higher wind gusts than that," a spokesperson with the weather service said Sunday night.

Officials with the weather service in Little Rock could not confirm if a tornado touched down at any point during the storms.

In Pulaski County, the sheriff's office received approximately 20 calls regarding downed power lines and trees, though no injuries were reported, according to spokesman Lt. Cody Burk.

Burk said that as of 8 p.m. Sunday, damage also included one residential fire.

The calls to the sheriff's office followed one storm that traveled just north of Interstate 40 in northern Pulaski County. Burk said the storm ranged from the Faulkner County line north-northwest of Little Rock, to the Lonoke County line east of Little Rock.

The official Twitter account for the city of Conway reported that several areas were "severely impacted" by the storm.

"Our police, fire and transportation departments are working to clear streets, respond to structure fires and rescue people from homes," a 6 p.m. tweet from the city said. 

Additional comments from the Twitter account noted that Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry authorized the opening of the Conway Emergency Operations Center, saying it "will allow the city to better coordinate with our first responders and prioritize our efforts moving forward."

At 7:40 p.m. Sunday, Conway Corp. said crews are working to restore power "as quickly and as safely as possible," but the utility noted that damage is severe across the city and that restoration efforts could take "several hours." 

As of 8 p.m. Sunday, reported that more than 66,000 Entergy customers were without power across the state.

The website reported that approximately 147,190 customers were without power statewide, and about one in three of those outages were in Pulaski County. Arkansas' most populous county had 55,115 customers without power at one point Sunday, according to the website's outage map. Another 33,897 customers were without power Sunday in Lonoke County, while 13,413 customers were without power in Faulkner County.