The town of Mayflower, Arkansas, was among the communities hardest hit by powerful tornadoes that plowed through the Plains and South on Sunday, April 27. Above, watch shocking aerial footage of the damage in Mayflower.
At least 18 people are dead in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Iowa — at least 16 of those in Arkansas.
Here’s what we know about Mayflower and the devastation it has suffered.
— Ari Sarsalari (@AriWeather) April 28, 2014
1. 10 Are Dead in Faulkner County; Mayflower & Vilonia Were Hardest Hit
More than 30 tornadoes touched down across Arkansas, Oklahoma and Iowa, but the towns of Mayflower and Vilonia in Arkansas’ Faulkner County felt the brunt of the storm’s wrath.
The death toll in Faulker County is at least 10, according to NBC.
Mayflower is located about 10 miles west of Little Rock, the state capital.
2. The Devastation Is Breathtaking
— Janet Shamlian (@JanetShamlian) April 28, 2014
Images emerging from Mayflower show leveled homes, cars and 18-wheelers reduced to twisted hunks of metal, and residents struggling to cope with shock.
In what is described as a “war zone,” residents whose homes managed to escape destruction are ordered to boil their water before consuming it, reports THV11.
The local high school and middle school are being used as shelters for those displaced. Some 60 homes in the Mayflower Plantation subdivision alone have been severely damaged.
Authorities established a perimeter around the town to limit incoming traffic.
3. The Tornado Was a Half-Mile Wide
The Weather Channel reports that the tornado that plowed through Mayflower and Vilonia reached a width of one-half mile:
The tornado touched down Sunday about 10 miles west of Little Rock at around 7 p.m., then carved an 80-mile path of destruction as it passed through or near several suburbs north of the state capital, including Vilonia. It grew to be a half-mile wide and remained on the ground for much of that route, authorities said.
4. Interstate 40 Was Strewn With Overturned & Mangled Vehicles
— Anne McCloy (@WSMV_AnneMcCloy) April 28, 2014
I-40, a major east-west artery in the area, was crowded with evening traffic when the tornado struck around 7 p.m. local time.
Cars and even big rigs were toppled and tossed. Billboards were shredded.
How strong were these tornadic winds? Three big RVs wrapped around a twisted I-40 billboard in Mayflower, AR. pic.twitter.com/5Rx5fPuW9k
— Mike Seidel (@mikeseidel) April 28, 2014
And today, traffic remains snarled by the aftermath.
I-40 east is backed up all the exit 127 from mayflower pic.twitter.com/DrUvZcchGD
— BMHill (@BMHill) April 28, 2014
5. Here’s How You Can Help
For anyone looking to make a monetary donation, or for those in the area looking to volunteer, Kim Herrington at TheMadeThing has compiled a lengthly list of organizations accepting donations and volunteers.