Weather Service: Straight Line Wind, Not Tornado Caused Damage

FORT SMITH (KFSM) – The National Weather Service issued a Public Information Statement Friday afternoon saying they did not find any evidence of rotation near Chaffee Crossing from the windstorm that occurred on the afternoon July 23.

The video above was shot from 5NEWS Viewer Bobby Zolliecoffer and shows the damage as it happened. Winds at the Fort Smith airport were measured at 66 mph out of the northwest. A Google Earth image shows existing damage to the northwest corner of the building which affected the structural integrity. Once the first building failed, addition debris was thrown into other buildings causing more damage and more roof failures.

Garrett Lewis was on site Friday and communicated with Meteorologist Steve Piltz by phone who said damage appeared consistent with winds of 75-85mph and a Public Information Statement regarding the damage will be posted today.

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Meteorologist Garrett Lewis took this picture of the collapsed roof on the northwest corner of the first building which was damaged. The roof had been compromised and weakened as was likely the reason the damage become so extensive.

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This Google Earth image shows how the wind gusted from the northwest and went directly over the damaged part of the building leading to it’s collapse.

More information will be posted when the official statement from the NWS is released.

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