Leader Blues

Saturday, June 13, 2009

TOP STORY >> Storms slam area

By JEFFREY SMITH
Leader staff writer

The storm came suddenly, as it usually does in Arkansas.

Many residents along Ballard Road just north of Cabot on Hwy. 5 were surprised by the power of Friday afternoon’s storm. The forceful winds — some at tornado strength — toppled giant pines and oaks onto roads, homes and a car.

Neighbors came out with chainsaws and tractors removing trees and limbs to make the roads passable. Electric lines were snapped, snaking along the ground. Residents were unsure when the power would be back on.

Chris Bryan, 16, of 2445 Ballard Road had just gotten home when the storm hit.

“I heard on the radio there was a storm. I went to unlock the door to let the dog out. There were sheets of rain. The wind picked up and debris went flying by the window. I heard a snap and a tree fell in the front yard. It took about 30 seconds,” he said.

Aaron Willis, 21, of 104 Lila Loop was in the next room of his house making a grocery list with his brother Josh, when a tree fell through his bedroom.

“The sirens never came on. It turned green outside. It was calm and then became really windy. The front door blew into the trailer. I heard a boom and the tree went through the bedroom,” Willis said.

Dana and Scott Holland of 302 Red Bird Lane had a tree smash into their home through the rock chimney.

Before the storm hit, Dana was called by her cousin Joey Sullivan about the approaching storms. Dana Holland and her 7-week-old son, Michael, went to Sullivan’s home to ride out the storm. They have lived in the home for three years. Scott Holland said he recently put new siding on the home.

The house was still creaking with the weight of the tree.

Dana Holland said, “I’m just speechless. I’m thankful my daughter was at Grandmother’s. I’m thankful everyone is safe. I can’t believe this. If I was sitting in the recliner near the fireplace, I don’t want to think where I would’ve been.”

While surveying the damage, Scott Holland said, “I am glad my wife and 7-week old son got out before the storm hit.”