[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The severe thunderstorm — some say a tornado — that descended on the Garrett Bridge community passed quickly but cut a 6.7 mile-long path leaving damaged homes and vehicles, uprooted trees, twisted metal and debris in its wake. [vimeo 63882187]

About a dozen homes and a church were damaged and two mobile homes and numerous outbuildings were destroyed in the Wednesday night storm but there were no injuries or fatalities.

Clarence Hurst and his wife Linda kneeled in the bathroom of their home of nearly 50 years as the roaring wind ripped holes in their roof, flung open their french doors, uprooted a large oak tree and sent it crashing into the east side of the house crushing their vehicles, garage and storage room.

“Once we heard it coming we got in the bathroom and then it was over,” Hurst said. “It was that fast. And it wasn’t 10 minutes before we had folks here trying to help us.”

Residents in the rural Lincoln County community worked Thursday in the drizzling rain, along with friends, family members, volunteers and emergency responders, to clean up the debris while C&L Electric trucks lined the roadway working to restore power.

Some believe it was a tornado that caused the destruction but that had not been confirmed as of 3 p.m. Thursday.

“We think it was a tornado because it twisted the tops out of the trees,” said Hurst’s friend Jim Palsa.

Residents may know as early as this weekend if it was a tornado or straight line winds that caused the damage.

John Robinson, the warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said he will be at Garrett Bridge Saturday surveying the damage.

Lincoln County was one of 15 Arkansas counties declared a state disaster area due to damage caused by the Wednesday night tornadoes and severe storms.

Gov. Mike Beebe on Thursday declared Cleburne, Conway, Garland, Hot Spring, Independence, Izard, Lincoln, Montgomery, Polk, Sharp, Stone, Union, Van Buren, White, and Yell Counties state disaster areas making it easier for local governments to coordinate with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and other state agencies during response and repair efforts.

Local governments will be able to better utilize Arkansas Department of Correction work crews to assist with debris removal.

Beebe also released $10,000 from the Governor’s Disaster Fund to help cover the immediate response costs from the storms.

Damage assessments continue, and additional counties may be added to the declaration.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/63882187″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][/vc_column][/vc_row]