Little Rock Ripped By Giant Twister on April 3

Gregory Greene has lived in this part of Tornado Alley for all of his 39 years and had never seen a tornado. Until, that is, Thursday night.

“I thought I was going to die,” Greene said after a twister swept through Little Rock and many of its suburbs Thursday night. The National Weather Service said an unknown number of people were injured.

“I saw debris flying around in a circle when I was about to go in and pick up my girlfriend from work,” Greene said outside an Andy’s Restaurant. “Stuff was going around in circles.

“About that time, it pushed her up against the building and knocked me down and pushed me under that truck,” Greene said. While he was under the truck, the storm flipped a car in the next parking space. His right elbow was rubbed raw.

At the North Little Rock Airport, the storm passed directly over the local office of the weather service. The tornado destroyed an airport hangar, left several single-engine planes flipped over onto their wings and destroyed other aircraft. A fuel truck was also toppled.


A firefighter walks past a wrecked airplane and a damaged hangar at the North Little Rock, Ark., airport Friday, April 4, 2008, after a tornado struck the area late Thursday.(Danny Johnston/AP Photo)

Damage also was reported in Benton at a mobile home park and a car dealership whose surveillance camera caught the storm on tape. After hitting Little Rock, the storm moved into the city’s northeastern suburbs. Trees were reported down in Jacksonville and Cabot.

The tornado storm contributed to traffic accidents when it passed through the metropolitan area of about 500,000 people. A number of shelters were set up at churches in the region. A separate storm downed trees at the University of Central Arkansas campus in Conway.

In Cammack Village, a community of 1,000 surrounded by northwest Little Rock, police and firefighters went door-to-door to check on residents. Paramedics tended to an elderly woman, who didn’t appear seriously hurt. An oak tree blocked in neighbors on a cul-de-sac and water from torrential rains flowed down streets about a half-foot deep.

Susann Walters, 55, said she hid in a closet with her two dogs and a cat as the storm approached. “It was probably 30-45 seconds,” Walter said. “It was quick.”