Tornado tears through Arkansas city, prompting curfew and National Guard response

“I know there is property damage,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “Just praying all is safe.”

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By Alicia Victoria Lozano

A tornado tore through a small city in Arkansas on Saturday evening, ripping roofs off buildings, flipping cars and prompting a curfew for residents.

The twister slammed into Jonesboro, about two hours north of Little Rock, around 5 p.m., according to the National Weather Service, which tweeted a video of the storm as it intensified.

Photos and video obtained by NBC affiliate KAIT showed the front entrance of a mall that had been ripped apart and massive piles of debris spilling onto city streets.

There were no immediate reports of deaths, a spokesman for the Jonesboro police department said. City officials said they were aware of at least six minor injury reports.

A screen grab from a social media video shows a tornado in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on Saturday.Said Said, Triples S Phone and C / Reuters

Many businesses were already closed or empty because of the coronavirus outbreak. The state is not under a stay-at-home order but residents have been urged to practice social distancing and remain indoors if they feel sick.

Mayor Harold Perrin issued a curfew for all residents starting at 7 p.m. The National Guard was also being deployed to help with recovery efforts.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that he was paying close attention to the tornado report and is declaring Sunday a "special day of prayer" throughout the state.

“I know there is property damage,” he said. “Just praying all is safe.”