Early morning tornado damages 140-year-old church in Faulkner County

An EF1 tornado damaged a church in Faulkner County.

FAULKNER COUNTY, Ark. (KTHV) — The National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes moved across parts of Arkansas in the early morning hours on Monday, Jan. 22. The damage at Needs Creek Baptist Church in the Springhill area of Faulkner County is extensive.

The church has stood in Faulkner County since 1874. 

"No storm like this, no damage like this has ever taken place," Pastor Joel Slayton said.

The damage includes a roof ripped off, walls blown through and the glass entranceway gone.

The National Weather Service confirms the damage is from an EF1 tornado with approximately 100 mile per hour winds. It moved about 2.7 miles just before 1 a.m. Monday.

“The Baptist church here looks like it took the brunt of the damage," said Dennis Cavanaugh with the National Weather Service. “This was the longest path of damage of anywhere in the state."

At least one home was damaged, car ports and a semi-truck were blown over and trees were overturned.

"What we got is a big line of storms and we knew they were going to produce some damaging winds, so having a brief spin up tornado in lines like that it does happen somewhat frequently in Arkansas," Slayton said.

Despite what the storm left behind, Pastor Joel Slayton is thankful.

"God spared lives as the storm came through last night. Property can be rebuilt," Slayton said. “This church has been here so long and God has blessed through the years and we look at this as an opportunity."

NWS also confirmed an EF1 tornado touched down in Huntington.

© 2018 KTHV-TV


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