JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — A tornado ripped through northeast Arkansas on Saturday, leaving three people hurt after hitting commercial and residential areas in the college town of Jonesboro.
The three people reported injured were hospitalized, Jonesboro E-911 Director Jeff Presley told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Presley said the tornado did major damage at the Mall at Turtle Creek and Jonesboro Municipal Airport.
“Police are doing search and rescue on vehicles right now,” Presley said. “We have red lights out all over town as well.”
Most stores in the Mall at Turtle Creek were closed Saturday to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Weather Service tweeted a video from the Arkansas Department of Transportation that showed a large tornado dropping from storm clouds in Jonesboro.
U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, who represents much of eastern Arkansas, said on Twitter that a tornado tore through “the heart of town” and asked for prayers for first responders. Crawford said his staff and family were safe.
Jonesboro is home to Arkansas State University. The university tweeted that campus was not damaged.
Forecasters with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, warned that a severe weather outbreak was possible later Saturday for much of the central U.S. Forecasters said tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds are possible, particularly in parts of Illinois and Iowa.