Atkins remembers Super Tuesday tornado outbreak of 2008

A building destroyed after a series of tornadoes tore through Arkansas on Super Tuesday in 2008 (Photo: KATV)

Today marks the 11-year anniversary of the Super Tuesday tornado outbreak in Arkansas.

The storm system ripped through Arkansas and three other states, killing 57 people and injuring hundreds.

Among the Arkansas cities hit was Atkins. Mayor Rowdy Sweet used the anniversary to remind residents to thank those who had helped them after the tornado struck in 2008.

"I'm sure everybody out there has someone they could call today and thank for the work they did to help them," he said. "It could've been helping an elderly person get out of a house or helping somebody rebuild a shop."

The storm brought 87 tornadoes. And the Atkins area is no stranger to twisters. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there have been eight EF1 tornadoes, 11 EF2s and one EF3 and over the past 75 years.

The Super Tuesday outbreak left the city of roughly 3,000 residents rebuilding and cleaning up.

"I could sit here for hours and name names of people. The whole community came together," Sweet recalled. "People helped rebuild and clean up. The cleanup took a while. All the local churches became a place for food and clothing, and people donated all kinds of items."

The city, he said, is prepared for another tornado if one were to hit. He said city leaders and emergency management meet regularly to coordinate their plans. In addition to that, the middle school and high school are equipped with tornado safe rooms.

Fourteen Arkansans were killed on Super Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. It was the deadliest storm in Arkansas since 1997.

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