April 9-17 Mena Arkanasas EF-3 Tornado

I had to go to Mena to cover the tornado for my tv station early on the morning after the tornado. Mena is a mess. The NWS in Little Rock has rated this a EF-3 which I think is pretty fair. Here are a pictures from around Mena. I will continue to add to this page over the next several weeks...

On Tuesday, April 14 2009 I went up in a airplane to survey the damage from the air. I was actually able to stream this aerial damage survey live on tornadovideos.net. Here is video and some of the pics as well as some other pictures through the week including the maps showing the tornado path superimposed on a map.










Here are pictures from the morning after the Mena Tornado. When I first got to Mena on that Friday morning travel was still difficult. Within just a few hours I saw incredible progress already in the ability to move around the city.











Some of you may be familiar with Google’s Street View. Today I checked the locations that were hardest hit and the differences are quite sobering.

Here is Google’s street view looking at the Masonic Lodge from before and after:







Here is the NWS Little Rock report on the Mena Tornado:

THIS WAS THE TORNADO THAT HIT MENA. THE TORNADO BEGAN 0.7 MILES SOUTH SOUTHEAST OF THE TOWN OF POTTER. IT STAYED ON THE GROUND THROUGH MENA...AND LIFTED 3.2 MILES NORTHEAST OF THE COMMUNITY OF INK. THE PATH LENGTH WAS 14.5 MILES. THE PRELIMINARY RATING FOR THIS TORNADO IS AN EF3...WHICH CORRELATES TO A WIND SPEED RANGE OF 136 TO 165 MPH. THERE WERE THREE FATALITIES IN THE CITY OF MENA...AND AN UNKNOWN NUMBER OF INJURIES.

and another tornado from I believe the previous supercell:

THE SECOND TORNADO AFFECTED NORTHWESTERN POLK COUNTY. THIS TORNADO ACTUALLY BEGAN IN LE FLORE COUNTY OKLAHOMA IN THE TULSA NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY NEAR THE TOWN OF BIG CEDAR. IT CROSSED THE STATE LINE 6.3 MILES NORTHWEST OF THE POLK COUNTY COMMUNITY OF ROCKY. THE TORNADO CONTINUED ON THE GROUND FOR 2.7 MILES BEFORE DISSIPATING 4.7 MILES NORTH NORTHWEST OF ROCKY. COUNTING THE TIME IN OKLAHOMA...THIS TORNADO WAS ON THE GROUND 9.2 MILES.THE TORNADO WAS RATED AN EF1...WHICH CORRELATES TO A WIND SPEED RANGE OF 86 TO 110 MPH. DAMAGE WAS LIMITED TO TIMBER IN THE OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST...WITH HUNDREDS OF TREES BEING BLOWN DOWN.






From 2nd grade to 9th grade my family did all of its shopping and church in Mena (went to school in Waldron but was closer to Mena) and I remember the 1993 tornado damage. This is nearly incomparably worse (which is what some townspeople said). The 1993 tornado traveled nearly the exact same path as it was only a couple hundred yards further south. There were many buildings and houses that were damaged (even significantly) by both the 93 and now 2009 tornadoes.