Mayflower stays storm-ready after tragedy

MAYFLOWER, Ark. (KTHV) - When we hear severe weather is coming, we all get a little nervous. Especially those who lived through the tragedy last April when an EF-4 tornado tore through neighborhoods in central Arkansas.

The town of Mayflower learned that you can't wait for a tornado threat to get prepared.

Last year's tornado struck too close to home for many in River Plantation. Most of the homes along this road were destroyed, an image that stays in the minds of those who decided to stay and rebuild.

"Oh, from beginning to end it was the most frightening and helpless I've ever felt in my life. I just don't even want to hear the word 'tornado.'"

Becky Ferris knows quite well that a lot can change in a year.

"There's no words to describe the devastation you see. Everything just down all around you."

Broken bark and makeshift signs near her home trigger memories. While her new home acts as a marker of progress, there is also a new-found fear.

"I've been very respectful of weather before now it's just…it's hard to describe what knowing it's coming for you does to a person."

It wasn't easy for her and her husband to rebuild. It took patience and an understanding that something like this could happen again.

"…I don't know if we got hit again like Vilonia did twice if we'd stay in the same spot."

During reconstruction, they turned a master closet into a new storm shelter. They still live in the same four walls that saved their lives the first time around, and try to reassure themselves whatever way possible.

"I hope they don't have to go what we went through last year. You just pray a little harder."

For a look back at coverage from the April 27, 2014 tornado, click here.


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