DISASTER AT MARMADUKE

GREENE COUNTY , ARKANSAS

APRIL 2, 2006

WRITTEN BY : TINA EASLEY

05/21/2006

TINA@GRNCO.NET

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

APRIL 2, 2006

6:15 P.M.

# NOTE - THIS IS THE TYPE OF HISTORY I DON'T LIKE TO HAVE TO ADD TO THE SITE BUT I KNOW IT IS IMPORTANT PART OF OUR HISTORY . IT IS STILL AMAZING HOW EVERYONE HAS COME TOGETHER TO HELP ! FROM DIFFERENT TOWNS AND COMMUNITIES AND STATES . OUR COUNTY HAS SURVIVED SO MANY DISASTERS THROUGH THE YEARS OF HISTORY THAT I HAVED WORKED ON . WE ARE STRONG AND POWERFUL AND WILL REBUILD AND SURVIVE THIS DISASTER AS WELL .

OUR WORLDY THINGS ARE REPLACEABLE BUT LIFE IS NOT . IT WILL BE ALONG TIME BEFORE THE CLEANUP AND REBUILDING WILL COME TO AND END . SOME FAMILIES WILL NOT RETURN AND SOME FAMILIES WILL STAY AND WILL REFLECT IN A CHANGE IN OUR HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY .

GOD BLESS


KAIT CHANNEL 8

MY HAT IS OFF TO YOU !

CHANNEL 8 , AND OUR LOCAL RADIO STATIONS , DID A OUTSTANDING JOB REPORTING THESE STORMS AND GIVING WARNING TO THE RESIDENTS . TELLING THEM TO TAKE COVER. THERE ARE SOME 525 RESIDENCES IN MARMADUKE AND NO ONE WAS KILLED. THE TORNADOES TOOK BASICALLY THE SAME PATH AS THE 1997 TORNADO BUT COVERED ALLOT BIGGER AREA IN AND OUTSIDE IN THE RURAL AREA OF LAFE AND MARMADUKE , PROVIDENCE , 50 PERCENT OF THE HOMES WERE DESTROYED IN MARMADUKE AND VERY FEW LEFT WITHOUT SOME KIND OF DAMAGE . THE CLOCKS AT THE MARMADUKE SCHOOL SHOWED 6:15 P.M. . THERE WAS ESTIMATE OF ABOUT 50 RESIDENTS TAKEN TO HOSPITALS WITH INJURIES AND SOME IN CRITICAL CONDITION BUT NO FATALITIES.


AS THE CHANNEL 8 (KAIT) WEATHER ALERTS WERE COMING ACROSS THE TELEVISION , MY HUSBAND AND I WERE TRYING TO GET A HOLD OF FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS TO MAKE SURE THEY WERE WATCHING THE WEATHER REPORTS .

MY OLDEST DAUGHTER AND HER HUSBAND LIVE JUST DOWN THE ROAD TOWARD THE BEECH GROVE Y . CHANNEL 8 WAS TELLING EVERYONE EAST AND WEST OF BEECH GROVE AND LAFE AREA TO TAKE COVER , AS THEY WERE REPORTING DAMAGE IN THE DELAPLAINE AREA . WE CALLED MY DAUGHTER AND HER HUSBAND AND TOLD THEM TO GET TO OUR HOUSE AS FAST AS THEY COULD WHEN THEY GOT THEIR WE TOOK OFF FOR PARAGOULD WHERE MY YOUNGEST DAUGHTER WAS , OUT OF THE DIRECT LINE OF THE STORM . NOT KNOWING WHICH PATH THE STORM WOULD TAKE WHEN IT HIT THE RIDGE . IT WAS 1.3 MILES WERE THE TORNADO COME ACROSS THE RIDGE FROM OUR HOME , TO CLOSE .

YOU COULD SEE THE BLACK - GREENISH , COLORED CLOUD FOLLOWING THE RIDGE STRAIGHT TOWARD LAFE AND MARMADUKE AREA IT WAS LIKE IT WAS ON A DIRECT PATH . THE SUN WAS SHINING AT PARAGOULD AND A RAINBOW PEAKING THROUGH THE CLOUDS .

IT WAS SO ERIE LOOKING TO BE SO CALM WHERE WE SAT IN THE PARKING LOT AT WAL-MARTS LOOKING NORTH TOWARD LAFE AND MARMADUKE AND LISTENING TO THE LIVE REPORTS COMING ACROSS THE RADIO OF THE DEVASTATION TAKING PLACE . ALL WE COULD THINK ABOUT WAS OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS THAT LIVED IN THE MARMADUKE AND LAFE AREA , IN AND ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE TOWNS , PRAYING THEY WERE SAFE.

WE WERE SO LUCKY THAT NO ONE WAS KILLED . IF THESE TORNADOES HAD HIT DURING THE NIGHT WHEN EVERYONE WAS A SLEEP IT COULD OF BEEN ALLOT WORSE. I HAVE HEARD REPORTS FROM OTHER PEOPLE OF TWO TO THREE TORNADOES HITTING MARMADUKE . I WAS TOLD BY SOME OF MY FRIENDS THAT I WORK WITH THAT THERE WERE TWO TORNADOES ONE COMING FROM LAFE AND ONE TOUCHING DOWN JUST OUTSIDE OF MARMADUKE , IN THE PROVIDENCE AREA AND TAKING DIFFERENT PATHS THEN JOINING TOGETHER HITTING MARMADUKE WITH FULL FORCE , GOING TOWARD THE TOWN WHEN THEY TOOK COVER .

THE TIME HAD JUST CHANGED TO DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME , THE DAY BEFORE AND SOME SAY THAT IS THE REASON BECAUSE OF THE LONGER DAYLIGHT HOURS THAT PEOPLE WERE STILL OUTSIDE AND SEEN THE STORM APPROACHING .

I KNOW IN MY HEART AND I BELIEVE SOMEONE WAS WATCHING OVER THE COMMUNITIES HIT BY THESE TORNADOES .

I AM A AMATUER PHOTOGRAPHER , I TRY TO ALWAYS CARING MY CAMERA WITH ME. I HAD MY CAMERA THAT DAY AFTER THE STORMS WENT THROUGH WE TOOK OFF TO MARMADUKE TO CHECK ON OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

AS WE TRAVELED ALONG 135 NORTH WE WERE PROUD TO SEE THAT NO DAMAGE HAD BEEN DOWN IN OUR AREA . THE CLOSER WE GOT TO LAFE AND MARMADUKE Y , WE STARTED SEEING LIMBS, AND LEAVES AND SHINGLES FROM HOUSES SCATTERING ACROSS THE HIGHWAY AND HILLS .

WHEN WE GOT TO THE BIG CURVE JUST BEFORE YOU GET TO LAFE YOU COULD SEE THE PATH THE TORNADO TOOK , TREES WERE LAYED DOWN BROKE OFF JUST ABOUT HEAD LEVEL SNAPPED LIKE A TOOTHPICK . DEBREE FROM HOUSES AND BARNS LAYING SCATTERED THROUGH THE HILLS AS FAR AS YOU COULD SEE . THE TORNADO JUST DIDN'T HIT THE HIGHSPOTS IT HIT THE VALLEYS AS WELL .

AS WE TURNED ONTO HWY 34 TOWARD MARMADUKE IT LOOKED LIKE THE TORNADO'S HAD PLAYED LEAP FROG JUMPING FROM SIDE TO SIDE SOME HOMES NEVER TOUCHED SOME SLIGHTLY DAMAGED AND SOME COMPLETLEY DEMOLISHED . TREES HUNDREDS OF YEARS OLD FULLY UPROOTED SOME LAYING ONE DIRECTION AND SOME IN OTHER DIRECTIONS . PEICES OF LUMBER, TIN AND INSULATION IN THE TREETOPS THAT WHERE LEFT STANDING .

THE CLOSER WE GOT TO MARMADUKE THE MORE DAMAGE , EACH HOME WE PASSED , WE SAID A SILENT PRAYER FOR THE FAMILIES . THE COUNTY ROADS COMPLETLY BLOCKED WITH DOWNED TREES AND HIGHLINE WIRES AND TELEPHONE POLES AND DEBREE . PEOPLE DRIVING OUT IN THE FIELDS AROUND THE DEBREE TRYING TO GET IN OR OUT .

WE WERE TRYING TO REACH MY HUSBANDS AUNT , ZEPHIE JONES WHO LIVES JUST ON THE OTHERSIDE OF MARMADUKE AND CHECK ON MY GRANDSON WHO LIVED IN MARMADUKE BUT WHERE IN THE MIDDLE OF MOVING TO PARAGOULD , THE HOUSE WAS LOCATED BEHIND THE WATER TOWER . WE HAD TRIED TO CALL BUT I GUESS ALL THE PHONE LINES WERE DOWN . MAKING US MORE PANICKED AND NOT KNOWING WHAT TO EXPECT .

DEBREE BLOCKED THE ROAD BY THE MARMADUKE BALL FIELD SO EVERYONE STARTED RE-ROUTING THROUGH THE FIELD IN FRONT OF THE HIGH SCHOOL , RESCUE TEAMS AND PARAMEDICS , FIRE DEPARTMENTS , POLICE AND COUNTY OFFICERS TRYING TO GET THROUGH ALONG WITH OTHER PEOPLE THAT LIVED THEIR AND PEOPLE TRYING TO CHECK ON THEIR LOVED ONES. HAVING TO WATCH DOWNED POWERLINES ROADS COMPLETLEY BLOCKED OFF . FROM THE TORNADOES ISOLATING THE TOWN .

AS WE TOPPED THE HILL BY THE WATER TOWER IT WAS A HORRID SIGHT THERE WAS HARDLEY NOTHING LEFT JUST SHELLS AND PEICES AND A FEW WALLS OF WHAT USED TO BE THE HOMES . CARS AND TRUCKS TOSSED HERE AND THERE IT LOOKED LIKE A BULLDOZER HAD WENT STREET BY STREET . WHERE THE HOUSE MY GRANDSON LIVED WAS DEMOLISHED ( WE FOUND OUT LATER THAT NITE THEY HAD FINALLY GOTTEN MOVED A FEW DAYS BEFORE , WE KNEW THEY HAD BEEN MOVING , BUT I HADN'T GOT TO TALK TO THEM IN A FEW DAYS DURING THEIR MOVING , THEY WERE SO LUCKY. )

WE TRIED TO GO ON TO OUR AUNTS HOUSE AND HAD TO GO DOWN TOWARD THE CENTER OF TOWN BY THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH WERE WE SEEN MY HUSBANDS COUSIN, LEON JONES , AUNT ZEPHIE'S SON . HE SAID HE HAD ALREADY FOUND OUT SHE WAS ALRIGHT . LEON SAID , AS HE WAS STILL IN SHOCK OF WHAT JUST HAPPENED , " THAT HE WAS TRYING TO GET TO THE CHURCH TO TAKE COVER , HE COULD SEE THE TORNADO COMING UP FROM BEHIND HIM WHEN HE LAID DOWN IN THE FLOOR BOARD OF HIS CAR . NOT HAVING TIME TO TAKE SHELTER AND AFRAID TO TRY TO GET OUT OF HIS CAR. HE SAID HE COULD FEEL THE CAR MOVING AND SHAKING , THE TORNADO LIFTING IT FROM SIDE TO SIDE AND DEBREE HITTING IT , AND THE ROAR ." WHEN WE GOT THERE HIS CAR STILL SET IN THE STREET , IT LOOKED LIKE IT HAD BEEN , BEAT TO DEATH COVERED IN MUD AND GRASS , ON THE RIGHT OF THE STREET THE HOUSES LAYING EVERY WHICH AWAY , THE FAMILIES PERSONAL THINGS LAYING ADMIST THE RUBBLE OF WHAT ONCE WAS THERE HOMES AND ON THE LEFT THE HOUSE THAT USED TO SET ON THE CORNER WAS IN THE STREET SCATTERED ACROSS THE ROAD . HE WAS SO LUCKY HE WASN'T HURT OR TRAPPED AMONG THE RUBBLE LEFT BEHIND .

OUR RESCUE TEAMS AND COUNTY OFFICIALS AND CITY POLICE DONE A EXCELLENT JOB . AND THANKY YOU TO ALL THE COMMUNITIES AND GROUPS, CHURCHES , SCHOOLS AND ORGANIZATIONS , THAT STEP UP TO HELP .

 

BELOW IS SOME OF THE PHOTOS I SHOT .

TINA EASLEY

tina@grnco.net

FOR BIGGER PHOTO CLICK ON IMAGE