Last night, a tornado hit the ground in Baxter, Kansas and continued through to Mayflower, Arkansas and parts of Iowa, levelling towns and killing at least 18 people. In the time since, a drone video has surfaced showing just how devastating the damage was, specifically showing the footage from the town of Mayflower. The accounts of others and the footage is a stiff reminder of how life can change in a minute.
Accounts from those in Arkansas talk about how they saw floating debris prior to the tornado hitting and how many were wedged into storm cellars with neighbors, friends, and even strangers who spotted people entering as they were driving on the road. Arkansas was by far the hardest hit of the areas affected last night and suffered at least 10 of the 18 known fatalities across the state. These fatalities were the state's first recorded from a tornado for this 2014 season. In addition to the loss of human life, homes were ripped from their foundation, and power lines were torn from the ground, causing much difficulty for rescue crews, who were forced to search in the dark during the night.
Mayflower, Arkansas, is a town with a population size of around two thousand, as of the year 2000. Prior to the tornado, Mayflower had 750 homes and around 500 families. While the damage was greatest in the area, only one of the state's fatalities happened within the town. The footage of the Drone video was shot by Brian Emfinger, who says more footage should be available sometime today.
Back at the beginning of the storm in Baxter, Kansas, the damage totals are rolling in. Around seventy homes and twenty five businesses are confirmed to be destroyed in the wake of the storm. Thirty four people were injured in Baxter and nine people were hospitalized. One person was reported dead, but authorities were unsure if the death was related to the tornado that hit the city or merely incidental. A total of thirty-three tornadoes traveled in total a hundred miles between three states.