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Saturday Marked Anniversary Of Deadly River Valley Tornado

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Saturday marked the 22nd anniversary of the deadly tornado that rocked the River Valley in 1996.

The EF-3 tornado touched down on the west side of downtown Fort Smith at 11:12 p.m. on April 21, 1996.

The half-mile wide twister destroyed numerous historical buildings in the downtown area before moving into residential neighborhoods on both sides of the Arkansas River in Fort Smith and Van Buren.

The storm had winds speeds of up to 200 mph and left two Fort Smith children dead and also caused dozens of injuries. The supercell also claimed two lives in Madison County.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimated around 1,800 homes were damaged or destroyed by the storm.

Then-President Bill Clinton later declared both Sebastian and Crawford counties to be natural disaster areas.

You can view more coverage of the deadly tornado by clicking here.