PIERCETOWN — It only took a couple of minutes, but the tornado that basically destroyed Parthenon raked the area of Piercetown and damaged three airplanes, completely destroying one.
Newton County Judge Warren Campbell was in Parthenon early Tuesday morning surveying damage there. He said it appeared the storm lifted out of the valley and touched down again a few miles east of Jasper on Highway 74.
Ralph Day lives about six miles east Jasper. Between Ralph and his nephews, they had three airplanes on top of the mountain, two in an indoor hangar and one in an open-air hangar.
Ralph said the storm happened quickly, but it did a lot of damage to the planes and his home.
He said it rained in torrents for a couple of minutes and they had decided to go to the basement. That’s when they heard the heaviest part of the storm.
“It was like a freight train,” Dwight Day said.
It didn’t take the National Weather Service’s confirmation that the storm was a tornado to convince Dwight. Trees were laying on the ground in different directions, indicating rotating winds hit the area.
Ralph explained there were two airplanes in the indoor hangar, a single engine and a small biplane. They just put a new metal roof on the building last summer.
On Tuesday morning, in the light of day, the metal roof had been mostly blown off and the single-engine plane was under a pile of debris. The biplane was still inside the hangar, but it had damage to the wings.
The third plane, the one in the open-air hangar, was located 50 yards or more away from the hangar. Dwight said it was difficult to even find it Tuesday night in the dark, but it looked more like scrap metal in the daylight.
Ralph said the tornado completely destroyed the open-air hangar, throwing a one-ton support pole around like a fence post.
“There was a lot of force there,” Ralph said.
More storm damage was visible along Highway 74 on into Piercetown. Crews from Carroll Electric Cooperative were in the area with new utility poles on trailers.
On Highway 123, just south of Hasty, a Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department crew was clearing Highway 123, a sweeper in use to clean up final loose debris about 9:20 a.m.