BY CHRIS DANIEL –
Over eleven inches of rain last week and strong winds associated with thunderstorms Saturday caused damage to county roads and several buildings. Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison told KENA and The Pulse that damage to county roads was widespread but not catastrophic. Ellison said that he spent all day Sunday surveying the damage and still had some spots to check on Monday morning. There are approximately thirteen hundred miles of county roads and about a thousand miles of those are gravel. Ellison said that it would take a few weeks to get all the repairs made and that the impassable areas would be open early in the week.
Storms Saturday had high winds and caused damage to several structures. The roof of a barn on County Road 293, just west of the Polk County Fairgrounds, was completely blown off, and a building at Richie’s Discount Auto Glass on Hwy 71 South in Mena was also damaged.
The National Weather Service in Little Rock issued a Tornado Warning Saturday after radar indicated rotation in the northwest corner of Polk County. Sirens were not activated in Mena since the rotation was not close to Mena and was not traveling toward Mena, according to Polk County Office of Emergency Management Director Tommy Stueart. In addition to the Tornado Warning, there was a Tornado Watch, Flood Watch, Areal Flood Watch, and two Severe Thunderstorm Warnings issued for Polk County on Saturday.
Tornado sirens locally are tested at noon each Wednesday unless there is severe weather or the potential for severe weather in the area. NOAA Weather Radios are also tested on Wednesdays in Arkansas unless there is severe weather in the state or the potential for severe weather, in which case they are tested on the next good weather day.
February 26th through March 3rd is Sever Weather Awareness Week in Arkansas. For more information on severe weather preparedness, visit http://www.weather.gov/safety/.