Mother Nature Rips Through Benton County
Saturday night’s storms tore through Benton County leaving power lines and trees blocking the streets, left hundreds without power, and two people injured.
The two injured were Eric Vandyke and his wife who drove through the Rogers tornado on their way home from a movie.
“Within 10 seconds, it went from light rain to rain heavy enough to where we had zero visibility,” Eric Vandyke said.
Their car was lifted off the ground and spun several times. They were sent to the hospital with cuts and bruises.
“We’re seeing a complete rotation around us at this point, our car is still being pummeled by debris and wind,” Vandyke said.
Vandyke said his wife lost her glasses and asma inhaler in the debris.
“So we decided we needed to get out of the car and we took off running east, ” Vandyke said.
Meteorologist Ed Calienese with the National Weather Service in Tulsa surveyed the damage alongside representatives from the Benton County Emergency Management Agency.
Calienese confirmed a tornado hit the ground in Rogers on 52nd street around 9:40p.m.
“The direction of some of trees have been uprooted and snapped and some of the signs blown down and snapped, light poles blown down and bent over,” Calienese said.
“It’s more consistent with a tornado than it is with straight-line winds,” Calienese said.
Director for Benton County Emergency Management Robert McGowen said it’s important to work with the National Weather Service.
“There are reports of trees down from Cave Springs all the way up to Avoca. The majority of the damage is focused here in this area in Rogers,” McGowen said.
“We’re going to be surveying the damage along the line from where it started to where the damage ends,” McGowen said.
Calienese said eyewitness accounts are part of accessing the storm’s capacity.
“The car obviously spinning around as it`s being lifted slightly off the ground so that is definitely a fact that caught my attention,” Calianese said.
The Vandyke couple said they are thankful to be alive.
“We realize that we`re just fortunate with scratches and some bruises,” Vandyke said.
The National Weather Service still has to determine the length, distance and width of the tornado. They estimate it was an EF1 tornado.