April 27, 2011

Tornado hits Little Rock AFB; officials still assessing damage

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. A tornado struck Little Rock Air Force Base at approximately 8 p.m., April 25.

Emergency crews immediately responded in the aftermath of the tornado and conducted a house-to-house recall of all personnel, according to a 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs news release. Base housing residents were also encouraged to stay indoors due to downed power lines in base housing.

On the morning of April 26, base officials further assessed damage to the base. Another wing press release stated "roughly 100 houses were damaged" and on the flightline there were at least three C-130 Hercules aircraft damaged. Further investigation and work is on-going, officials said.

According to the National Weather Service, April 25, a tornado outbreak affected southwest and central sections of Arkansas.

"There were at least half a dozen tornadoes, and it appears some of them were strong and long-lived," according to the NWS Web site. "The storm that produced the tornado (in Faulkner County) may have also spawned tornadoes from Sunshine and Hot Springs Village (both in Garland County) to near Paron (Saline County), Morgan (Pulaski County) and Romance (White County).

"Damage north of Jacksonville and around the Little Rock Air Force Base (both in Pulaski County) was also likely caused by a tornado (from a different parent storm)," the NWS states. "There was major tree damage between Big Fork and Board Camp (Polk County), and this was probably the result of a tornado. Survey teams from the National Weather Service will be out in the coming days to examine the damage, and determine how many tornadoes ripped through the region."

Little Rock Air Force Base is the "home of C-130 combat airlift," according to the base's fact sheet. "The 19th Airlift Wing, the base's host unit, in concert with the 314th Airlift Wing, 189th Airlift Wing and U.S. Air Force Mobility Weapons School is known as the world's 'Center of Excellence' for tactical airlift. Currently Little Rock AFB is home to more than 90, C-130 H, J and E models."

(19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs contributed to this report.)

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