Strong storms strike Helena-West Helena, Arkansas over Easter weekend

Updated: Apr. 13, 2020 at 6:56 AM CDT
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HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. (WMC) - Parts of the Mid-South saw extensive storm damage Easter Sunday.

Helena-West Helena, Arkansas’ emergency crews responded to several downed trees and powerlines.

Buildings downtown were crumbled during the storm. The historic Centennial Baptist Church caved in due to the strong winds that swept through Easter Sunday.

Mayor Kevin Smith wrote on Facebook that the situation was bad Sunday night. Roads to the hospital were blocked, and residents were stuck inside their homes.

A fallen tree left Anna Barry and Tap Jennings trapped on their property.

“We called the sheriff and he came and picked us up,” Jennings said. “By the time we left her house and the sheriff picked us up, we could see stars in the sky,” he added.

Entergy Arkansas spent the morning working to get power restored.

The storm caused emergency communication lines to go out, and residents were unable to use their cell phones.

“We’ve got no service here now, where normally we would have service downtown. So there must be a tower out,” Jennings said.

No information has been released about possible injuries.

Mayor Smith gave an update to residents on Facebook saying city leaders are in touch with Emergency Management officials to get things back up and running. He also asked residents to stay inside if they can.

As for the buildings downtown, Jennings says they have not been used for a while. “Most of these buildings are empty and are falling down as you can see.”

The severe storms ripped the southern states apart Easter weekend. At least six people in south Mississippi were killed; strong wind damaged up to 300 homes and other buildings in northern Louisiana.

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