Storms wreak havoc in Arkansas, southern U.S.
LITTLE ROCK — Strong winds in Arkansas and Texas reportedly flipped over trucks along highways between Friday evening and Saturday morning, according to reports.
In Arkansas, a stretch of Interstate 40 was blocked in St. Francis County early Saturday after gusts knocked over seven to 10 trucks, the National Weather Service said, according to WATN-TV of Memphis, Tenn. The Arkansas State Police were handling the situation, the station reported.
In Texas, gusts knocked an 18-wheeler onto its side in Dallas County during a severe thunderstorm that blew through the region Friday.
Gale-force winds blew the truck onto the grass next to westbound Interstate 635 in Irving, Texas, FOX 4 reported.
Crews had to break a window to get the driver, who suffered minor injuries, out of the truck. The rig was eventually righted using a crane. Severe winds also ripped off a section of wall from nearby Hilton Garden Inn. No injuries were reported.
Much of Northern Texas was under a tornado watch until 9 p.m. local time, FOX 4 of Dallas reported.
Meanwhile, three homes were destroyed by winds in Logan County, Ark. where “a confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado” touched down Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
Only the foundation of a trailer home was left after the storm blew through Midway, Ark., Little Rock’s FOX 16 reported.
“Winds so strong that it picked it up from its foundation and just tossed everything out here,” Re’Chelle Turner of FOX 16 reported.
She advised people in the area to be careful: “This weather is nothing to play with.”
Turner said a tornado warning near a Walmart in Clarksville, in Logan County, forced everyone huddle at the back of the store.
“The wind was just so hard,” she said. “The rain, it sounded just like what people actually say – like a freight train.”
No injuries have been reported.
The national Storm Prediction Center said more than 18 million people in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma were at an enhanced risk of storms Friday, including from strong tornadoes, flooding rains and wind gusts that could exceed 80 mph (129 kph), the speed of a Category 1 hurricane. The area included Dallas, Houston and Austin.
Parts of nine states — Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana — were under flash flood watches on Saturday in anticipation of the drenching
— For the first time since the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab began keeping detailed statistics, the agency said methamphetamine eclipsed marijuana as the most-submitted drug in the state in 2019.
“Drug addiction continues to be a major issue in Tennessee, and I believe this sharp increase in methamphetamine has a connection to our state’s ongoing opioid epidemic,” TBI Director David Rausch said in a statement.
“Drug abusers often flow from depressants to stimulants and back again. As more people struggle with opioid addiction many of them will – with time – seek out stimulants like methamphetamine.
TBI’s crime laboratories in Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville received a total of 9,795 submissions of marijuana in 2019, compared to 10,652 in 2018. Historically, the TBI said it analyzes approximately 10,000 submissions identified as marijuana every year.
The TBI revealed methamphetamine has continued to trend significantly upward in recent years, increasing from 3,748 submissions in 2015 to 12,072 in 2019. That has occurred at the same time the state has seen a sharp decline in the number of meth labs over the past decade, indicating an influx in imported methamphetamine.
“While our state’s addiction crisis continues to evolve, it’s important to remember that treatment for substance use disorder is effective, and people do recover,” Marie Williams, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services said.