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After the tornadoes over Memorial Weekend, the governor travels to the north Arkansas counties to assess the storm damage



Briarcliff, Arkansas – The Briarcliff hamlet was hit by the 36.1-mile-long tornado that struck on May 26 and left havoc in its wake.

“We heard them come across mountain home radio station, breakthrough that there was a tornado,” Cindy Buettman said.

When she awakened her husband up with thunder and lightning, the phone alarm went off, and they quickly turned on their radio to locate the tornado’s location.

“It actually said it was coming toward Salesville and Briarcliff, and it named other different communities around us, so we immediately started getting everything together and headed as fast as we could to our little safe room,” Buettman said.

A tornado with an EF3 rating struck the hamlet, resulting in one fatality and four injuries.

“It seemed like it lasted forever,” Buettman said. “I’ve never heard such commotion and then once the commotion was over, the small of tress, that I will never ever forget.”

Cindy and her husband came outside to assess the damage after the storm appeared to have passed.

“We saw the roof on our neighbor’s house was gone,” Buettman said.

They began to check on every neighbor along the block, which raised concerns. There was no running water or electricity, trees down every which way, and the entire street was cut off.

“Everyone was scattered everywhere and trying to check on everybody,” Buettman said.

On the same block as the Buettmans, other homes were entirely destroyed.

“We have damage, but not nearly like our neighbors; we know three so far that are total damage; they are going to have to start from scratch,” Buettman said.

They express their gratitude to the community for coming together to support them.

“I would just like to say that I think the biggest thing was the outpouring of love and just people coming just to see what they can do to help us and pray for us,” Buettman said.

Those with chainsaws were cutting a path for the street to exit safely as soon as daybreak arrived.

“We had no water, no electricity, no anything, just trying to cut through a path to get to civilization where we could get our basic needs. That was amazing to see everybody just pull together to try to help,” Buettman said.

One week after the tornado hit Briarcliff, the devastation is still evident.

“For the governor to come and check to see through her own eyes what this community, what the impact has been, it means a lot to all of us,” Buettman said.

The Buettman family expresses gratitude for their good health.

“Rebuilding will take time, but we come away with our lives, so you have to just be thankful for that,” Buettman said.


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