Tornado injuries, damage reported in Arkansas

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(CNN) — A storm system unleashed a tornado that slammed communities in northern Arkansas, damaging homes and a church, officials said Wednesday evening.

At least three injuries were reported in Van Buren County.

The storm hit the church in Botkinburg, said Tommy Jackson of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. The building sustained major damage.

Eleven homes and a business were damaged in the county, Jackson told CNN.

Judge Roger Hooper of Van Buren County said early assessments showed widespread damage, mostly in rural areas.

According to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center, a highway was blocked by fallen trees and an 18-wheeler truck was overturned.

John Robinson, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service’s Little Rock office, said the tornado tracked from the community of Scotland to Botkinburg. “It weakened fairly soon after that,” he said. Another storm formed after that.

Damage also was reported in Viola in Fulton County, near the Missouri border, and in Conway County.

Scotland, according to Robinson, suffered a fatality and major damage to a highway and homes in a major February 2008 tornado.

Storm spotters reported damaged and overturned vehicles along U.S. 65, north of Clinton.

Video footage from CNN affiliate KATV showed toppled trees and twisted building girders at one damage location.

The severe weather season started late in Arkansas, according to Robinson, because of a chilly March. “It has been a very slow year.”

Thus far in 2013, six tornadoes have been reported, about half the normal number.

Source: CNN