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Pike County tornado confirmed

EF-2 twister leaves trees down, up to 30 homes damaged by Daniel McFadin | March 4, 2023 at 8:19 a.m.
Caiden Bethel, 7, and his grandfather, Charles Fox, stand in the yard of Fox’s brother’s house in Kirby on Friday. The house was severely damaged by an EF2 tornado Thursday night, along with dozens of other homes and farms in the area, according to a report by the National Weather Service. More photos at (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Stephen Swofford)

Meteorologists confirmed on Friday that overnight damage to as many as 30 homes in Pike County was the result of a tornado.

According to a bulletin on the National Weather Service's website, Pike County officials reported 20 to 30 homes were damaged or destroyed. Multiple chicken houses were also destroyed and "numerous" trees were blown down.

The National Weather Service in North Little Rock confirmed Friday afternoon that survey teams had determined that a tornado was responsible for the damage in Kirby.

The service said in a social media post that the damage was consistent with a higher end EF-2 tornado. An EF-2 tornado is measured at having 3-second wind gusts between 111 to 135 mph.

Repeated attempts to reach officials in Pike County for details Friday were unsuccessful.

Volunteer firefighters and deputies rescued two people from a Miller County residence that collapsed from damage caused by a tornado that struck southwestern Arkansas on Thursday evening.

The rescue workers got the two people out without injury, said Michael Godfrey, director of the Miller County Office of Emergency Management.

The NWS North Little Rock office could confirm that a tornado struck Miller County sometime between 5:45 and 6:30 p.m., but could not provide further details Thursday, said Joe Goudsward, a senior forecaster with the service.

"We've been pretty lucky," Godfrey said.

He praised the work of the volunteer firefighters who were clearing downed trees and tree debris from Tennessee Road east of Texarkana late Thursday and had extinguished a fire that started when a tree fell across power line on U.S. 237 south of Texarkana.

A possible tornado also left minor damage in Grant and Dallas counties, officials said.

In Grant County, the area that was put under a tornado warning around 12:45 a.m. started in southeast Leola and tracked northeast from there, said Randall Berry, emergency services coordinator.

"We've been fortunate so far, but so far we've not had any reports of any damages," Berry said. "We've had a couple of trees down on roadways. All of those have been cleared except for one and we just got a report of that one. So we're working on that but we haven't had any reports of any major damage."

Deputy Jordan Ables with the Dallas County sheriff's office said only minor damage happened there. It primarily involved power lines, gas lines and timber near the small community of Cooney, located on Arkansas 229 between Leola and Garland.

Shortly after 2 p.m. Friday, Entergy Arkansas reported about 1,300 customers without power. The highest number of outages were in Pulaski County, 246. By 8 p.m., those numbers had fallen to 412 statewide and 50 in Pulaski County.

Police in Hardy, about 115 miles north of Little Rock, asked residents along the Spring River to leave their homes because of flooding, while hail and strong winds were reported in Oklahoma.

The storm hit Arkansas and Louisiana late Thursday after it marched across Texas.

More than 72,000 Texas customers and more than 42,000 in Louisiana remained without electricity Friday, according to

No deaths or injuries were reported in Texas and Louisiana.

Information for this article was contributed by Grant Lancaster of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and by The Associated Press.

  photo  A commercial chickenhouse lies in pieces in Kirby on Friday. More photos at (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Stephen Swofford)

  photo  An aerial view shows some of the damage Friday at Kirby in Pike County after a tornado touched down Thursday. Officials said 10 to 15 people were injured and 20 to 30 homes damaged or destroyed by what meteorologists said was an EF-2 tornado packing winds up to 135 mph. Grant, Miller and Dallas counties also reported storm damage. More photos at (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Stephen Swofford)

 Gallery: Storm damage in Arkansas on March 3, 2023

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