Jonesboro, AR (other towns) Tornado, May 1968
DEADLY TORNADOES STALK EASTERN ARKANSAS.
TOLL OF KNOWN DEAD STANDS AT GRIM 48.
Jonesboro, Ark. (AP) -- Deadly spring twisters prowled Arkansas' tornado alley Wednesday night, leaving more than two score dead and staggering property damage.
This university city of 24,000 was hardest hit. It counted 33 dead and more than 350 injured as the first daylight search of the stricken area began.
State Police reported 10 dead at Oil Trough, three died in tornadic winds at Mountain Home, and two were killed at Tuckerman, all within 100 miles of Jonesboro, in an area of the state which is periodically plagued by tornadoes.
Several other tornadoes which caused property damage and injury were reported during the night and most of the area was under a storm alert until daybreak.
The twisters dropped out of spring thunderstorms which poured heavy rain on already flooded areas.
A tornado wrecked the downtown area of Manila, 32 miles northeast of Jonesboro, but no one was reported killed there.
The twister that hit Jonesboro struck first in the Valley View community, south of the city, then smashed through the southeast section of the city scattering homes like dominoes.
The Weather Bureau estimated the speed of the winds at Jonesboro at 120 miles per hour.
JOHNNY BROWN, who lives in the Fairview addition at Jonesboro, said he was driving to a store to get some candles, because the lights at his home had gone out.
Suddenly, he said, the windows in the car burst out and shingles and debris began to blow over him, and his four-year-old son, BUDDY. He said he turned around to go home, but the street was blocked by a house which had blown into it.
MRS. BROWN, at home with daughter SHERRY, three months, said she and the child crouched against a wall in SHERRY'S bedroom and this was the only room in the house that was not damaged.
Eight bodies were found in a field near the BROWN home.
Eyewitnesses said Oil Trough, a town of 235, was virtually destroyed. More than 50 injured here were rushed to hospitals at Batesville and Newport.
Tuckerman, population 1,600 was not so hard hit. Property damage was not heavy. Ten persons were injured.
The U.S. Weather Bureau reported numerous sightings of tornado funnels aloft. High winds and hail caused damage in other sections of the state and most of Arkansas was under one severe alert or another through the evening.
The twisters struck as the state was beginning to recover from floods which plagued the south and central sections earlier in the week.
Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller authorized use of the National Guard at Jonesboro.
Rockefeller said he would fly to Jonesboro to survey the damage and then fly over south Arkansas to view the flood damage there.
The storm missed Arkansas State University in eastern Jonesboro. The university has more than 5,000 students, most of whom live ini dormitories on the campus.
Authorities at Manila said three blocks of buildings were wrecked. The heaviest damage was in the downtown area, which was almost deserted when the storm struck.
The shopping district of suburban Nettleton at Jonesboro was heavily damaged and the Nettleton elementary school was destroyed.
The Red Cross at Memphis, 65 miles southeast of Jonesboro, sent blood to Jonesboro, and many of the injured were transported by trucks to Memphis hospitals.
The storm at Oil Trough demolished the Church of Christ, where about 60 persons were attending services. MRS. H. T. HANKINS, one of 21 injured in the church, said members knew the storm was coming and crawled under pews. Only one person was seriously hurt in the church.
The Tuckerman twister, which may have been the same one which later struck Jonesboro and Manila, first hit an implement company building west of U.S. Highway 67, then skipped across the road and demolished some homes.
Twisters were reported after midnight near Marion and Black Oak, but there was no report of injuries from these storms which reportedly hit unpopulated rural areas.
Injured from Oil Trough crowded into hospitals at Newport and Batesville. Jonesboro's injured lined the halls of St. Bernard's Hospital and an emergency treatment center was set up at Arkansas State University, which escaped storm damage.
LYNN FAIR, 22, interviewed at the hospital, said he was in a house trailer when the storm hit.
"First the windows blew out and then I was sailing through the air," he said. "I guess I was lucky that I wasn't struck by the trailer, but it went in the opposite direction."
Northwest Arkansas Times Fayetteville 1968-05-16
TORNADO VICTIMS IDENTIFIED BY POLICE, CORONER.
Jonesboro, Ark. (AP) -- The coroner's office at Jonesboro and State Police Thursday night issued this list of the victims in Wednesday night's tornadoes in Northeast Arkansas:
BILL SYKES, 55, of Nedham, Ark.
MILLIE SYKES, 55.
PAULINE SYKES, 3.
CHERYL LYNN MOORE, 6 months.
KIRK A. MOORE, 1 1/2 years.
GAIL MARIE MOORE, 21.
ARCHIE WIMPY, 30.
MARY WIMPY, 32.
TOMMY WIMPY, 5.
JEWEL HENLEY, 28.
WAYNE HENLEY, 6.
RICKY HENLEY, 4.
RITA SLATER, 28.
JOY SLATER, 18 months.
DENNIS GOODMAN, 12.
DAVID RAY GOODMAN, 3 1/2.
DENISE ALLEN, 1 1/2.
RITA ALLEN, 30.
LINDA FORMAN, 16.
JAMES FLETCHER, 32.
KIRK FLETCHER, 3.
J. D. SHELTON, 31.
MICHAEL CARTER, 16.
MAGGIE GUY, 30.
GARY LYNN JACKSON, 15.
EXIE TAYLOR, 46.
BEVERLY HANSEN, 19.
MARY ANN RIGGS, 15.
NORMAN JACQUESS, 45.
MRS. V. NICHOLS.
VICTOR J. DOWNS, 2 1/2 months.
FRANKIE SUE STEVENS, 28.
BYARS and the STEVENS woman died in a Memphis hospital. All ages listed are approximate.
MR. and MRS. YANKEE ROBERSON.
MRS. MARY HARRIS.
MR. and MRS. DONALD ANDERSON of Hugoton, Kan.
MRS. DOROTHY GAUGER of Gamallel.
Northwest Arkansas Times Fayetteville 1968-05-17