20th Anniversary of Deadly Fort Smith/Van Buren Tornado

Published 04/21 2014 12:03PM

Updated 04/21 2016 04:53PM

 On Sunday, April 21, 1996, a severe weather outbreak stretching from northwest Texas to the River Valley produced a tornado that ripped through in downtown Fort Smith and Van Buren, killing two children.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the tornado touched down on the west side of downtown Fort Smith at 11:12 p.m., causing extensive damage to historic buildings then crossed the Arkansas River and moved into a residential area on the west
side of Van Buren

Along with the two deaths, numerous injuries were reported in the Fort Smith and Van Buren, where the tornado damaged about 1,800 homes.

The NWA reports, the F3 rated tornado was estimated to be about one-half-mile wide with a seven mile long path.


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