Mayflower and Vilonia have been hit hard by storms tonight. I've been following on Twitter with #arwx. That's the absolute best way to stay up to date with weather (that may not be over yet). If you click on the link above, you can follow local weather experts, even if you don't have Twitter. Many photos and videos are being posted of the damage. Tomorrow morning, the light of day will probably reveal even more damage and fatalities. So far, there are 16 fatalities: 10 in Faulkner County, 5 in Pulaski County and 1 in White County. Two of the fatalities are reported to be children.
The areas hit will need our help, but they won't need people who don't have help to offer. If you're not a first responder, don't visit the scene. First responders need to be able to get to people who haven't been reached. If you're going to look around, and not to contribute to the cleanup or aid, it's best to stay home for now. There's work to be done and, surely, more horrors to discover.
Authorities say if you want to volunteer time, head to a shelter (listed here) or join with a group listed below. Don't come through Mayflower or Vilonia on your own. Shelters also need goods (blankets, pillows, bottled water, non-perishable foods), so you can bring them to the shelters or the Faulkner County Sheriff's department.
If you're going to donate, be sure to send donations to reputable organizations. I've listed some national organizations that always help, like the Red Cross, and some smaller, local organizations like The Van and local churches. Some of these organizations want monetary donations, and some like goods or time.
- Red Cross Tornado Relief has a fund setup for the victims of this storm. Some who were hit tonight lost everything and had to rebuild just three ago (almost to the day). They will also probably need blood, as they always do when disasters strike.
- The Salvation Army has a Tornado Relief fund too.
- Apostolic Church in North Little Rock accepting donations beginning at 9 a.m. Monday. Donations of tarps, flashlights, batteries, hand sanitizer, non-perishable food items, gloves, toiletries, chainsaws, blankets and bottled water can be dropped off at 4315 Landers Rd. in North Little Rock. 501-945-2655.
- New Life Church is accepting donations to their tornado relief fund setup at the Arkansas Dream Center Page.
- Holiday Inn Express in Maumelle will be a drop off site for donations . They need bottled water, non perishable food items, blankets, clothes, baby items, books and stuffed animals. Holiday Inn Express is located at 200 Holiday Dr, Maumelle, AR 72113.
- The Van is accepting donations. Check their Facebook for more info. You can donate cash to The One (the organization behind the Van) online. The Van is in Vilonia right now helping out.
- The United Methodists of Arkansas have setup a disaster relief fun.
- Mosaic Church has a fund for several Mosaic families that were affected by the Tornado.
- Arkansas Foodbank is onsite and they are accepting donations of food or money.
- Arkansas Rice Depot is preparing Disaster Meal Kits and accepting donations.
- CARE is accepting donations for the pets affected by the storms. Monetary donations from "Paws in the Pantry" go to help tornado victims, but they are also accepting pet food donations.
- ZAZA, Local Lime and Big Orange are sponsoring "Feed the Recovery." Make a donation to the Red Cross recovery effort there and you get free food, and 10% of sales now through Wednesday go to relief efforts. The free meal changes based on the restaurant (ZAZA is a free pizza for a $50 donation, Big Orange is a free burger for a $50 donation and Local Lime is free enchiladas, salad or taco plate). You also get entered for dinner for 2.
- Better Business Bureau in Little Rock is accepting non-perishable foods, water, tooth brushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, diapers, baby wipes, deodorant, etc. (12521 Kanis Road, 501-664-7274).
- North Point Ford-Lincoln in North Little Rock is accepting donations such as toiletries, bathing products, clothing, water, non-perishable food items, power tools and anything that would be helpful at 4400 Landers Road.
- Little Rock FOP is gathering donation items in the gym to be delivered to the areas effected by the tornadoes. The date / time of delivery is to be determined and will be posted to Facebook. Donation suggestions: non-perishable food items, plastic food containers, zip lock bags, diapers, wipes, formula, deodorant, toothbrushes / toothpaste, shampoo, soap, pet carriers, dry or canned pet food, bottled water, Gatorade, etc. Located at 1700 E. 2nd St. in Little Rock.
Lots of people have asked who I personally am donating to, so they can narrow the list. Personally, I will give to the Red Cross, The One/The Van and the Arkansas Foodbank. I think all three of these organizations do great work. Anyone on the list you donate to will do good things with the money you donate!
Here are a few other useful links:
- KATV has a list of shelters and NOAA weather radio stations. The weather isn't over yet, so don't put away your NOAA radio.
- KARK has the six shelters listed too.
- The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management Situation Report for last night.
- Brian Emfinger has some powerful aerial footage of the devastation.
- Highway conditions on iDriveArkansas show that some highways are impassable right now. Be sure you check them out if you're planning to go the direction of the storms.
- The National Weather Service Tornado Readiness page won't help tonight, but get prepared for the next storm.
- KATV has an app that will live stream weather for you. It's available for Android and iPhone under "KATV Weather." It's helpful if you lose power and don't have a television.