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Severe weather on Monday affected Jessieville community

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Jessieville, Arkansas – The ominous wind has now been replaced by the sounds of chainsaws, nail guns, and other tools being used to repair what was destroyed. And the residents of Jessieville are grateful since, unlike structures and trees, lives cannot be rebuilt or replaced.

“God just really had his hand on our community, and the sense of community here and how everybody helps out is unreal,” Graves concluded.

Schools in Jessieville will be shuttered on Tuesday as the extent of the campus damage is assessed. Keep checking back to see what choices are made later in the week.

“My phone rang it was my niece screaming that auntie’s house had been destroyed, and about that time the weather alert went off on our phone. That’s how delayed it was.”

When the world began to fall apart, they were on their way to pick up her kids from school when they saw the Graves family.

On the kids’ first day back from winter break, Jessieville Schools Superintendent Melissa Spears was keeping an eye on the weather.

She recalled, “Just out of the blue high winds, awnings begin to blow away, our flagpole blows over, and students and staff begin moving to the saferoom.”

A saferoom was crowded with almost 900 staff members and pupils. Spears claimed that a seamless process was largely due to tornado drills.

According to the Garland County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO), 14 residences, 3 businesses, and 7 schools were damaged along Highway 7. 346 Jessieville customers were reported without power at one point by Entergy.

Despite the dire circumstances, GCSO Public Information Officer Courtney Kiser reported, “All school students were accounted for at the time with no injuries which, that is, we believe a direct reflection on the saferoom opening up in time.”

The department thanked the Brockville Fire Department, Piney Fire Department, Buckville School Police Department, Hot Springs Village Police Department, Hot Springs Village Fire Department, Arkansas State Police, Game and Fish, Park Service, US Forest Service, Jessieville Fire Department, and Department of Emergency Management for their assistance.

They request that anyone who has a video send it to [email protected] through email. To ascertain whether the weather event was actually a tornado, Emergency Management and the National Weather Service will conduct further investigation.

Whether caused by a tornado or not, the horrific damage, which includes the area where the Graves family’s grandmothers have resided for centuries, is undeniable.

Graves claimed, “God knew right where she (her mother-in-law) needed to be in the house to not get hit. She was sitting in her chair, and she heard the wind and saw some lightning, so she got away from the window and walked, and she was between where the two trees fell.”

The ominous wind has now been replaced by the sounds of chainsaws, nail guns, and other tools being used to repair what was destroyed. And the residents of Jessieville are grateful since, unlike structures and trees, lives cannot be rebuilt or replaced.

“God just really had his hand on our community, and the sense of community here and how everybody helps out is unreal,” Graves concluded.

Schools in Jessieville will be shuttered on Tuesday as the extent of the campus damage is assessed. Keep checking back to see what choices are made later in the week.

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