Two Years Since Arkansas Tornado Disaster - 54 Touch Down in Single Day

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Release date: 
January 19, 2001
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Little Rock, AR -- While Arkansans are still busy recovering from the December ice storms, Sunday, Jan. 21, will mark the second anniversary of the string of deadly tornadoes that hit Arkansas in 1999. Fifty-six tornadoes touched ground during a 24-hour period, killing eight Arkansans and leaving hundreds homeless.

Federal aid was available two days later following a Presidential declaration. A total of 15 counties were designated for individual help and 16 counties for governmental funds to help communities recover.

Total registration was 3,170 with $971,087 paid for disaster housing and $1,893,028 for individual family grants. Forty-six applicants received funds in the amount of $8,482,194 for state, county and state governments. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) made low-interest loans to individuals for $8,874,600; businesses, $2,159,500; and economic injury disaster loans, $182,300 totaling $11,216,400 from SBA.

1999 was a very busy severe weather year with numerous tornadoes. Before 1999, the most tornadoes in one year in Arkansas was 78 in 1982. That record was shattered in 1999 with 107 tornadoes counted. Up until 1999, the largest tornado outbreak in Arkansas occurred on June 5, 1916. On that day, 34 tornadoes were spawned.

Additional Records to Note

  • Most tornadoes in a state on any day in January (previous record was 13 tornadoes on Jan. 10, 1975 in Alabama and on Jan. 24, 1997 in Tennessee).

  • Most tornadoes on one day in January (previous record was 39 tornadoes on Jan. 10, 1975 in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas).

  • Most tornadoes in any state in the month of January (previous record was 25 tornadoes in Texas in 1998).

Two years later the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) are working together in assisting victims, businesses and local governments with disaster-related expenses not compensated by insurance since the ice storms beginning Dec. 12.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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