Arkansas farmers and Extension agents spent Sunday and Monday assessing damage following the weekend’s deadly storms.
In Poinsett County, some farmers awoke to see new lakes where their freshly planted fields stood.
“We got from about 3.5 inches to 12 inches of rain in the county,” said Rick Thompson, Poinsett County Extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. “We have thousands of acres flooded.”
One farmer told Thompson that water had drained quickly off his newly planted corn field, but “it didn’t look good.”
Thompson said the storm also damaged some center pivot irrigation equipment and buildings at a farm store storage compound near the Craighead County border.
The National Weather Service on Sunday said at least eight tornadoes were confirmed from Friday, April 30, and while there were many reports of funnel clouds on Saturday (May 1), no tornadoes had been confirmed.
The tornado that roared through Scotland, Ark., on Friday night was rated an EF3 by the National Weather Service, with winds up to 165 miles per hour.
Aalesha Cartner, Van Buren County 4-H program assistant for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, said Monday that the powerful winds “sucked out rocks as big as car hoods and threw them.”
A farmer in Scotland lost cattle, some of them speared by tree limbs driven by the powerful winds, she said.
A county 4-H group, the C.A.S. Rockin’ Ranchers, dug into cleanup efforts on Saturday. C.A.S. stands for Clinton, Alread and Scotland.
“That’s why some of them didn’t take part in the O’Rama on Saturday,” Cartner said Monday. O’Rama is a group of competitions for 4-H’ers that allows them to advance to higher levels of competition.
Woodruff County Extension Staff Chair Eugene Terhune said the county received between 3 inches and 8 inches of rain over the weekend. High winds damaged an airplane hangar near Penrose on the county’s east side, and a house.
“It’s too early to tell about crops,” he said. “It will depend on how quickly the water will go down.”
Phillips County emerged almost unscathed.
“Many people quit planting here late last week in anticipation of the storm,” said County Extension Agent Robert Goodson. “Rain ranged from about 2.5 inches to 4 inches.”
The relatively dry spring meant many of the drainage areas were “low, so water will run off very quickly,” he said.
Growers had been taking advantage of good weather to get the crops in the ground.
“Planting is about 70 percent complete here,” he said.