Campus escapes Tornadoes' wrath

Release Date: 5/27/2011

Clarksville, Ark. --- The University of the Ozarks campus escaped injuries and damages from a pair of tornadoes that roared through Johnson County during the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 25.

The tornadoes, both rated as EF3's, struck Johnson County just after midnight Tuesday, killing two people in rural areas and causing significant damage to homes and businesses throughout the county.

One of the tornadoes tore a path 47-miles long through Franklin County and western Johnson County. The second tornado went through Clarksville, causing damage and injuries in the heart of the city, from I-40 in the south to Highway 21, then continued on into the northeastern part of the county. The second tornado missed the U of O campus by about a mile.  

Approximately 60 U of O students staying on campus and taking summer classes huddled with staff members in safe rooms while the storm passed through the area late Tuesday and into the early morning hours on Wednesday.

Most of the city, including the U of O campus, was without electricity on Wednesday. Classes were cancelled on Wednesday, but resumed on Thursday after power was restored.

Several students and staff are taking part in clean-up efforts throughout the county, including a group organized by Ozarks Outdoors. For information on how you can help, please contact Director of Outdoor Experiences Jamie Lewis Hedges by phone at 479-647-1082 or contact Lauren Ray by email at lray103@ozarks.edu.