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Faulkner County’s emotions are still being twisted ten years after the 2014 storm



Conway, Arkansas – A judge in Faulkner County devoted his day to contemplation on the tenth anniversary of a catastrophic tornado.

“April 27, 2014, a day many of us will never forget,” Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson said.

This is a significant reflection for Dodson, who served as the judge of Faulkner County in 2014 and is still serving as such in 2024.

Dodson claims that ample notice was provided to the county to allow for preparation and for individuals to exercise caution in the event of a tornado. They didn’t anticipate it being as horrible as it was, though.

“We had several days warning; in fact, the public was prepared. Had they not been, it could have been much, much worse,” Dodson said.

A 41-mile span through White, Faulkner, and Pulaski Counties resulted in 16 fatalities and nearly 200 injuries.

The tornado entered the county near Mayflower, swept 22 miles, and left the county in Vilonia, taking 12 lives of its own in Faulkner County.

“If you recall it took a while for the tornado to leave the county, so naturally we were responding, and when I say we, virtually every first responder of every kind began responding as it left a particular area,” Dodson said.

Recalling the time he climbed into his car and drove into the county he adores.

“I will never forget Mayflower just leveled to the slab and then over on Dam Road at Lake Conway, which was utter destruction, and seeing the heart of Vilonia leveled,” Dodson said.

Every location he has driven through on multiple occasions appears quite different, and the locals who once lived there are now inconsolable.

“Just the tears were just uncontrollable, I just, you know, your heart goes out to these people,” Dodson said.

Dodson stated that after focusing on search and rescue for three days, they assembled the fragments of the destroyed county on the fourth day.

“It’s hard not to internalize it and feel responsible, but you can’t stop a tornado,” Dodson said.

He said that lives were altered and that the changes were permanent. Memories lost and yet to be recreated and reconstructed.

“There is a certain amount of satisfaction just being here 10 years later, April 27, 2024, looking and seeing you know Faulkner County is okay,” Dodson said.


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