One Dead In Midwest Storms

Three men walk from wreckage that covers the ground in Plumerville, Ark., Monday, Nov. 28, 2005, where John's Refrigeration Company stood. Strong winds or a tornado hit the area near Interstate 40 late Sunday. (AP Photo/David Quinn)
AP
The search for missing residents was to begin Monday across Arkansas after tornadoes and high winds raked much the state Sunday, killing one motorist, destroying homes and buildings, razing chicken coops and knocking out power for thousands.

The storms also ripped through eastern Kansas. A tornado damaged more than 30 homes at Fort Riley and briefly knocked out power to the military base on Sunday. Tornadoes were reported in six other counties in east-central Kansas, as well, though the damage was minor, according to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.

"We were fortunate nobody was hurt," said Fort Riley spokesman Maj. Christian T. Kubik.

In central Arkansas, about 40 miles northwest of Little Rock, "a lumber mill was hit and due to that, the Interstate was closed. There have been overturned vehicles, all because, again, of the tornado touchdown that has affected that area," Kelly Robinson of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management told CBS Radio News.

The storm scattered wood across Interstate 40 like matchsticks and overturning vehicles.

One person was killed when a car headed west on the interstate was tossed into the opposite lanes and overturned, state police spokesman Bill Sadler said.

"Whether the lumber played a role in this, that is still under investigation," Sadler said.

"We're going to have to do a head count when communications are better," Morrilton Mayor Stewart Nelson said. "We don't know where the people went for shelter."

About 14 miles to the south, Perry County emergency workers rescued another person who was trapped in a damaged home in Perryville, also believed to have been hit by a tornado.

In Morrilton, just west of the lumberyard, Mayor Stewart Nelson said crews were searching for missing people late into Sunday night.

Garland County Sheriff Larry Sanders said his officers had received reports of other residents trapped in damaged homes southwest of Little Rock.

Debris made the roads impassable for police and other rescue workers in several areas, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Kelly Robinson said. She said the state had received calls reporting destroyed or damaged homes in Cleburne, Fulton and Garland counties.

Six homes were destroyed in Pike County, according to the sheriff's office there. At least two homes were destroyed in Van Buren County. Structure damage was reported to police in the Perry County town of Cherry Hill.

At least 7,500 homes were without power across Arkansas Sunday night, Entergy spokesman James Thompson said.