Monday, April 28, 2014

President Obama Visit Arkansas Tornado Community - Names of Victims - Pic-Video -

VILONIA, Ark. (AP) — President Barack Obama is telling residents of tornado-ravaged communities in Arkansas that their government will be with them until they rebuild.
Obama stopped in the state on Wednesday to survey damage from severe storms that tore through Arkansas on April 27. Fifteen people were killed and hundreds of homes were destroyed.
He walked through a devastated neighborhood in Vilonia, a small city about 30 miles north of Little Rock.

President Obama visits Arkansas' storm damage
President Obama boards Marine Force One as he starts his journey to visit Arkansas ... Osprey escort helicopter ... President Obama meets with Arkansas .WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama arrived in Arkansas on Wednesday to tour communities that were hit hard recently by severe tornadoes.
Obama met with victims, local officials and emergency personnel. Fifteen people were killed April 27 when tornadoes ripped through the Little Rock suburbs.
When the president arrived at Little Rock Air Force Base by Air Force One, he was initially greeted by Col. Patrick Rhatigan, Commander, 19th Airlift Wing & Little Rock AFB, then the president shook hands with Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, U.S. Congressman Tim Griffin, and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola.
Wednesday's visit was Obama's first to the state as president. Beebe, Pryor, Griffin and Stodola rode with the president in his helicopter to Vilonia.
Around 1:10 p.m. President Obama landed in Vilonia after an aerial tour of storm damage. He met privately with storm victims' families, emergency personnel and first responders in Vilonia City Hall.
Around 2:20 p.m., the motorcade took a short drive past decimated homes and piles of rubble lining the street. President Obama then turned into the subdivision where nearly all the homes are leveled and began his walking tour.
After the president's tour of damage and meeting with families, he made remarks to the public in Vilonia. He thanked officials and first responders and promised all the help of the federal government as the town rebuilds. He also spoke with Daniel Smith, a surviving resident, and his two sons.
Thursday, May 08, 2014, 9:05 a.m.
Obama tours state's storm ruin Video | Gallery

Obama tours state's storm ruin

VILONIA -- President Barack Obama visited this tornado-ravaged city Wednesday, promising residents that they won't be alone as they rebuild their homes and businesses. Before and after: Vilonia damage The president met privately with the families of some of the victims of the EF.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday got a close-up look at the devastation wrought on Arkansas communities after deadly tornadoes struck late last month.
Obama met with families that lost loved ones, local officials and emergency personnel in Vilonia, Arkansas.
Fifteen people were killed in Arkansas from the April 27 tornado outbreak near Little Rock that destroyed hundreds of homes.
Throughout the South and Midwest, at least 35 people were killed by the same powerful storm system.
In Vilonia, Obama took a walking tour of Parkwood Meadows, where just six of its 56 homes have any part still standing.
He also met at City Hall with families, first responders and recovery workers.
“I could not be more impressed with the spirit of community that’s here,” Obama said at a stop in Vilonia.
The president said a lot of repair and rebuilding remains to be done, but that he came to remind residents they won’t be doing the work alone.
“I’m here to make sure they know that the federal government’s going to be right here until we get these communities rebuilt,” Obama said. “Because when something like this happens to a wonderful community like this it happens to all of us, and we got to be there for them.”
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The National Weather Service's Little Rock office tweeted a series of messages warning of tornadoes, reporting damage and telling residents to take cover.
A tornado crossing I-40 "was reported to be as much as a half-mile wide," the weather service said. Officials reported overturned semi-trucks and destroyed homes, the weather service said.
Rescuers scoured rubble and expected to find more bodies Monday after the most destructive tornado outbreak of the year killed at least 16 people in three states and hammered the suburbs of Little Rock, Ark.
The whole community of River Plantation with 56 homes is devastated. with little hope of people surviving the F3 tornado.  The official death toll is 16 but that number will sky-rocket as rescue teams continue their search. 
At least 17 people were killed when a powerful storm system wreaked havoc through the southern and central US on Sunday night.
The tornado touched down Sunday about 10 miles west of Little Rock, Arkansas, at around 7pm, then carved an 80-mile path of destruction as it passed through or near several suburbs north of the state capital, including Vilonia. Vilonia, Ark., a town of about 4,000 people, was hit by a twister three years ago this week that killed four people and leveled homes and businesses. Homes rebuilt after the 2011 tornado were among those demolished on Sunday night.
Local television station THV 11 said the local sheriff in Faulkner county had confirmed that six people died in Vilonia.
"It's just devastating," Sheriff Andy Shock told THV 11. Shock said the town was facing a "mass casualty situation" and that nearby interstate 40 had been closed in both directions after cars and trucks were overturned.

Extreme tornado damage reported in Faulkner County

The names were released by Faulkner County spokesman David Hogue, the White County sheriff's office and a relative of the Paron victims.
Mark Bradley, 51, Mayflower
Jamye Collins, 50, Vilonia
Helen Greer, 72, Mayflower
Jeffrey Hunter, 22, Vilonia
Dennis Lavergne, 52, Vilonia
Glenna Lavergne, 53, Vilonia
David Mallory, 57, Vilonia
Robert Oliver, 82, Mayflower
Cameron Smith, 8, Vilonia
Tyler Smith, 7, Vilonia
Daniel Wassom, 31, Vilonia

Red Cross opens emergency shelters in Arkansas

The nearby town of Mayflower was also badly hit. About 45 homes were destroyed and a lumberyard was damaged, said Will Elder, an alderman in the town of 2,300 people. He said at least one person was injured.
The tornado passed through the east side of town, tearing up trees and bringing down power lines, making it difficult for the emergency services to find stricken areas in the the darkness.
"It's extremely hazardous here right now," said Elder. "The power lines are down, roads are blocked and they will have to proceed with caution."
In the western part of the state, Pulaski county sheriff's lieutenant Carl Minden said three people were killed when a tornado hit the area. Minden said several others were injured at the scene.
 At least six shelters were set up in Arkansas to handle dazed survivors. Gov. Mike Beebe was expected to visit hard-hit areas. One power company reported that at least 20,000 customers were still without power Monday morning.

From a trip to the Philippines, President Barack Obama offered condolences and pledged the help of the federal government. He said: “The country will be there to help you recover and rebuild.”
The storms came on the third anniversary of a four-day tornado outbreak that killed more than 300 people across the South

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