NWS: Deadly Nashville, AR tornado was an EF2

NWS: Deadly Nashville, AR tornado was an EF2
At least 2 people were critically injured in the storms that hit several homes along J&D Drive Sunday night.
At least 2 people were critically injured in the storms that hit several homes along J&D Drive Sunday night.
A family member has identified the couple killed in their home late Sunday night as 28-year-old Michael Mooneyhan and wife, 29-year-old Melissa Mooneyhan. Their young daughter survived. (Source: Peggy Chambers)
A family member has identified the couple killed in their home late Sunday night as 28-year-old Michael Mooneyhan and wife, 29-year-old Melissa Mooneyhan. Their young daughter survived. (Source: Peggy Chambers)
Homes along D&J Drive in Nashville, AR are heavily damaged, if not destroyed.
Homes along D&J Drive in Nashville, AR are heavily damaged, if not destroyed.

NASHVILLE, AR (KSLA) - A National Weather Service survey team says their preliminary findings from the damage from Sunday night's storms in Howard County indicate an EF2 tornado with winds of 125+ mph touched down in Nashville, Arkansas. NWS says the most extensive damage was on the southwest side of Nashville at the D&J Mobile Home Park.

Adjustments to that rating are possible, they say.

What is the Enhanced Fujita Scale?

A survey team was also conducting a survey in Jefferson, TX. According to preliminary findings, the NWS says two EF-0 tornadoes, with damage mainly north and south of Lodi, Texas, touched down in Marion and Cass Counties. The first touched down around 11:25 p.m. about 6 miles northeast of Jefferson, Texas and ended around 11:27 p.m. The second reportedly touched down about 8 miles northeast of Jefferson and ended 10 miles southeast of Linden.

It was in the Howard County seat of Nashville that a young couple was killed Sunday night when their trailer was flipped and "exploded," coroner John Gray told the Associated Press.

Gray said 28-year-old Michael Mooneyhan and his 29-year-old wife Melissa were trying to protect their daughter when the parents' trailer flipped over and "exploded," Gray said.

"It's a miracle that little girl survived," the coroner said. The girl, who is about 18-months-old, was taken to the hospital and later released to relatives.

Neighbor Steve Daugherty says he tried to help find the victims after the storms came through, but it ended up requiring the help of some expert trackers to find them.

"We tried to find them, but we couldn't find them," Daugherty said. "When the fire and rescue people come, they found them. Had to bring the dog. The dog found them."

Rescue crews pulled a man from the mobile home that was next door to the couple that died. He's one of two listed in critical condition. A woman in the same mobile home didn't need to be rescued but was also critically injured.

As many as 5 homes on that D&J street in the small mobile home community off of W. Sypert St. in the southwest Arkansas city are gone. Howard County Sheriff Brian McJunkins says there are sixteen mobile homes in the D&J Trailer Park.

The American Red Cross is on the scene and working to help the families in need. While KSLA News 12 crews were on the scene, a good Samaritan stopped by to give the families cash. 

John Miller is the founder of an organization called Hope Community Treasure Hunt. He personally delivered the $1,200 Monday.

One of the families Miller was able to track down was the family of Melissa and Michael Mooneyhan.

Police presence is still heavy in the Nashville, Arkansas area as officers try to keep track to a minimum in areas most affected by the storms. Authorities are directing traffic and keeping people away from damage near the 14th Street area. Some of the buildings damaged in the area are places to worship.

"God is in charge, it has to be redone," said Bobbie Sledge, a Deacon at Leslie Street First Baptist Church. "We mostly had wind force. We looked at the front door and the front door was pulled open."

The storm also left the Sunset Church of Christ building in need of repair. Shingles were blown off the roof and bricks off the side.

The sound of chainsaws could be heard around the city as residents began removing what was left behind by the storm. At the Diamond Country Lodging, not one but four big pine trees toppled into a mobile home, trapping its occupants.

Just four homes away, Bennie Barraes said his wife and child narrowly escaped injuries when a tree destroyed their home.

Mayor Billy Ray Jones says there are no people missing.

In addition to the 2 critically injured victims, 6 others were taken to Howard County Memorial Hospital. They have all since been treated and released.

Dozens of homes in Nashville were reportedly damaged heavily, if not destroyed. Mayor Jones says it's unclear exactly how many homes were damaged.

"It's been bad, I don't know that I've seen this kind of damage in Nashville since I've been in the department here for over 17 years," said McJunkin.

Emergency responders are in the process of assessing the situation and the damage.

The KSLA News 12 team on assignment in Nashville reports seeing as many as 100 trees down, including trees blocking roads, and on houses. There are also reports of power outages.

The National Weather Service also confirmed straight line winds with speeds near 80-90 mph also snapped and uprooted trees in the Saratoga area of Hempstead and Howard Counties.

All three schools were closed Monday because they were without power. It's still unclear if classes will resume Tuesday. There is damage to the primary school. The cafeteria director said a tree fell onto the roof causing minor damage.

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