A large tornado touched down in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on March 28, 2020, at around 5 p.m. local time. Based on the video shared online and pictures of the damage posted on Twitter, it appears the area was heavily damaged by the twister as it traveled and gained in intensity from Jonesboro to Brookland.
Police have confirmed to KATV reporter James Bryant that they are currently doing rescues, and there’s been significant damage in the Red Wolf & Highland area. There have not yet been reports of injuries or fatalities from the tornado. In the meantime, all residents in the area are encouraged to stay home while police and fireman assess the situation.
Video of the tornado was captured just before the storm hit Jonesboro.
Local were strongly encouraged to go into their “safe spot” as the tornado continued to travel toward Red Wolf and Paragould. Video damage shows numerous businesses in Caraway, located in the middle of Jonesboro, were completely obliterated, including a local dry cleaner and Gateway Tire of Arkansas.
Video of what’s known as a “Power Flash” was captured by local Lee Curtner, which means the area is suffering from severed power lines and residents may find themselves without power in the aftermath of the storm.
The tornado appears to be strengthening up, according to meteorologist Johnny Parker, who tweeted that “White Oak, Missouri need to monitor this storm closely.”
In the time-lapse video above, it’s possible to see the exact moment the tornado touched down.
Heartbreaking Photos Show The Extreme Damage Left In The Tornado’s Wake
The powerful storm created devastating damage in the city of Jonesboro. Meteorologist Matt Mahalike tweeted, “NSSL’s MRMS radar-derived rotation tracks from the storm that impacted NE Arkansas indicates the strongest rotation affected the area just south and east of downtown #Jonesboro, between ASU and the airport.”
Numerous photos shared on Twitter revealed that The Mall at Turtle Park was completely destroyed.
Meteorologist Nick Bender tweeted, “5:21 PM CDT Debris swept up by Jonesboro, AR tornado almost has the reflectivity appearance of a classic super cell in CC.”
Upon seeing the scale of the damage in the Jonesboro area, users online sent their thoughts and prayers to residents in the area, noting how tragic it must be for such a storm hit during the coronavirus pandemic. As of March 26, Arkansas had recorded 310 patients testing positive for coronavirus and two deaths, according to NBC News.
The Jonesboro Tornado Formed From A Cluster Of Storms
Video shows the large tornado was formed by a union of numerous smaller storms all coming together before touching the ground on Saturday evening. A map of the twister’s path shows that it started near Amagan before hitting Jonesboro. Afterward, the storm headed toward Brookland and approached Brighton.
Scattered debris from the tornado stretched five miles from the storm’s center. The map below shows a clear path that the twister took after it made landfall.