A tornado ripped through Jonesboro, Arkansas on Saturday afternoon.
The natural disaster triggered a citywide curfew after powerful winds overturned cars and demolished buildings.
Following extreme lightning storms and giant hail in Oklahoma and Missouri, a large tornado ripped through Jonesboro, Arkansas, destroying everything on its path.
In addition to ravaging several homes and businesses, the storm caused a gas leak in east Jonesboro and partially destroyed a local mall.
I was freaking out!!!! It was right there!!! Jonesboro Tornado on the ground!! Close up!!! pic.twitter.com/uFhogJj64g— EKW (@EKWMusicStar) March 28, 2020
Local authorities are currently conducting search and rescue efforts and Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin issued a citywide curfew beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
The National Guard is being deployed to help secure the area.
“We got a lot to secure,” said city spokesperson Bill Campbell. “This is a search-and-rescue mission being conducted across the city, and we are racing against the dark.”
Six people have been hospitalized with injuries, per the Gazette’s report.
The winds were so intense, they derailed a nearby train at around 6 p.m. ET.
And look at the airport below:
Jonesboro airport. ? pic.twitter.com/p3tRvlTnBC— Goodin (@agoodin1) March 28, 2020
Videos and images shared on social media show the terrifying storm as it tears through Jonesboro, leaving flattened buildings in its wake and throwing debris nearly four miles into the air.
Cross section of correlation coefficient for the Jonesboro storm shows debris being lifted higher than 20,000 feet. Reliable indicator of an intense tornado. pic.twitter.com/S2PhvgjqjF— Alex Lamers (@AlexJLamers) March 28, 2020
The twister grew so quickly, doubling in size just 15 seconds after touching down, that several videos came from residents directly beneath the storm as they attempted to find shelter or flee the scene.
15 seconds is all it took for the Jonesboro tornado to more than double in size as it hit the town on Saturday afternoon. Several injuries and significant damage have been reported: https://t.co/x2emE564Qe pic.twitter.com/HFYbtxE9vi— AccuWeather (@breakingweather) March 29, 2020
One livestream by a local news station captured the staggering destruction in real-time.
The state’s lieutenant governor, Tim Griffin, called the devastation “heartbreaking” in a tweet Saturday.
Arkansas Representative Rick Crawford also commented via Twitter, saying that the tornado went through “the heart of town.”
Crawford also asked for prayers for the first responders there.
I hope you will pray for Jonesboro and northeast Arkansas. In the midst of everything, a tornado just went through the heart of town. None of my staff have been hurt and my family are okay. Unsure of others – please pray for first responders now being dispatched.— Rep Rick Crawford (@RepRickCrawford) March 28, 2020
The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center has issued a “Particularly Dangerous Situation” tornado watch for swaths of the Midwest through Saturday night.
Some of the other states most at risk for severe winds and hail are Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois.