EF4 Tornado Mayflower–Vilonia, Arkansas

April 27–30, 2014

At 7:06 p.m. on April 27 (0006 UTC on April 28), a weak tornado touched down in extreme western Pulaski County, Arkansas, roughly 6 miles (9.7 km) east of Paron, and tracked north-northeast. Within a minute, the tornado dramatically intensified and struck a small residential area at EF3 intensity. There, two homes were destroyed and another was severely damaged. One of the homes was built with bolts along the foundation perimeter and was reduced to a bare slab, normally indicative of EF5 strength; however, it was found that the anchor bolts were not secured with nuts and washers, and nearby vehicles were not moved, which indicated a lesser intensity. Three people were killed in that area. 

The tornado entered Faulkner County and immediately struck the River Plantation subdivision at the southwest edge of Mayflower. Here, EF4 damage took place with large, two-story homes being leveled with only piles of debris left on their foundations. On the northeast side of the subdivision, one person was killed after debris struck the door of her storm shelter and opened it, exposing her to the tornado. The storm shelter’s door was found to have been of sub-standard construction. Near where this fatality took place, large concrete road barriers were blown over and moved, and calculations revealed that this was also likely indicative of EF4 intensity.[14][15] Just outside the subdivision, a power substation sustained major damage. Continuing northeast, the storm tore across the south edge of Mayflower and crossed Arkansas Highway 365 and Interstate 40, tossing semi-trucks, cars, and road equipment from the highway. A business district in this area experienced mainly EF3 damage, with 18-wheelers tossed, industrial buildings damaged or destroyed, and some nearby homes heavily damaged. A recreational vehicle dealership on the other side of the highway was completely destroyed at EF4 intensity (though meteorologist/civil engineer Tim Marshall applied an EF3 rating at this location due to structural flaws), along with most of the RVs; three of which were found wrapped around a nearby billboard. A vehicle repair shop, millwork company, construction company, and church in southern Mayflower were also destroyed, and a home improvement store was badly damaged.[16] In addition to the fatality in the storm shelter, two other people were killed in Mayflower.[17] The tornado then crossed Lake Conway, downing numerous trees and causing a mixture of EF2 and EF3 damage to homes along the lakeshore. Some block-foundation frame homes along with multiple mobile homes were swept into the lake by the tornado. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission lost a clubhouse, shop, horse barn, residence, metal carports, shower house, and several dog kennels in this area, and eventually removed 627 tons of tornado debris from the lake.[16] The tornado then caused mainly EF2 damage as it struck areas in and around Saltillo. Numerous homes, mobile homes, sheds, barns, trees, and a church were damaged or destroyed in the Saltillo area. Two homes near Saltillo had only interior walls left standing, with the damage to those homes rated EF3.[14]

Highest wind speed: 190 mph
Date: April 27–30, 2014
Max Rating : EF4 tornado
Damage: $223.45 million (2014 USD)