Two Year Anniversary Central Arkansas Tornadoes

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Release date: 
February 26, 1999
Release Number: 
1266-17

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Two years ago residents of central Arkansas felt the impact and devastation from tornadoes similar to those that struck the state five weeks ago on January 21, 1999.

Starting on the first of March, 1997 and continuing for four days, severe storms, heavy rains and tornadoes struck the state. Beginning west of Arkadelphia, sweeping onward through Little Rock, and ending its 200 mile path just east of Jonesboro, it left 26 Arkansans dead and millions of dollars in damages. Then, a month later to the day, a second barrage of heavy rains caused flooding that added more damage and misery to those areas already affected and including several previously untouched counties.

Finding the State severely damaged Governor Tucker asked for federal assistance, and President Clinton declared the state eligible for disaster assistance funds.

Looking back, we are able to provide specific figures related to the recovery effort.

The 1997 March Storm: 3,624 Arkansans registered for assistance.

Funds approved to help homeowners, renters and businesses recover:

  • $1,594,768 for the Disaster Housing Program.
  • $3,480,982 for the Individual & Family Grant Program
  • $17,001,200 for U. S. Small Business Administration loans.
  • $68,962 for Disaster Unemployment assistance.

Total federal funds approved for Individual Assistance: $22,145,912

Funds approved to help communities recover under the Public Assistance Program:

  • $2,137,052 for Debris Removal
  • $794,150 Emergency Protective Measures
  • $874,280 Road and Bridges
  • $3,174 Water Control facilities
  • $279,061 Building and Equipment
  • $1,426,409 Public Utilities
  • $25,078 Other.
  • $231,267 Administrative allowances.

Total Federal Funds approved for Public Assistance: $5,770,471

556 Arkansans registered for assistance

Funds approved to help homeowners, renters and businesses recover:

  • $513,295 for the Disaster Housing Program.
  • $271,373 for the Individual & Family Grant Program
  • $721,200 for U. S. Small Business Administration loans.

Total federal funds approved for Individual Assistance: $1,505,768

Funds approved to help communities recover under the Public Assistance Program:

  • $24,554 for Debris Removal
  • $43,519 Emergency Protective Measures
  • $2,078,462 Road and Bridges
  • $35,370 Water Control facilities
  • $5,438 Building and Equipment
  • $115,921 Public Utilities
  • $12,307 Other.
  • $118,590 Administrative allowances.

Total Federal Funds approved for Public Assistance: $2,434,161

During the 1990s Arkansas was declared eligible for federal disaster assistance 5 times: 1990 and '91 for severe storms and flooding; 1992 for severe thunderstorms; in 1994 for severe winter ice storms; and 1996 for severe storms and tornadoes in the Fort Smith area. The National Weather Service reports that 11 more tornadoes struck the state in 1997 and 34 in 1998.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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