1929-04-10 Sneed, AR

Mar 3, 2012
On April 10, 1929, a small but very intense tornado outbreak occurred across northeastern Arkansas. It began with a large F4 tornado which struck Guion, destroying all but four of the town's 150 buildings. A concrete block bank was demolished and its vault was blown open. A number of homes were completely swept away and debris was transported more than 50 miles away. Seven people were killed.

The mini-outbreak continued with an F2 tornado which caused damage in Cleburne and Independence Counties before dissipating near the White River. At around the same time, a much larger tornado touched down near Batesville. Growing to half a mile in size as it crossed into Jackson County in the Black River bottoms, the tornado tore through the little outpost of Possum Trot before obliterating the small town of Sneed. A total of 23 people were killed (a relatively low toll because many people fortunately saw it coming and sought shelter in "storm caves").

The damage was extraordinarily intense. Whole sections of forest were "mowed down" and stripped of bark. Homes were completely swept away such that "one could hardly tell that a home had once stood." Victims were, in some cases, thrown more than half a mile from their homes. So intense was the damage that the Possum Trot - Sneed tornado still stands as the only officially recognized F5 to occur in the state of Arkansas (I'd make a case for a couple others, including Mayflower - Vilonia last year, but that's a whole different can of worms).

Some photos from this event:

What's left of a home from Sneed on top, Possum Trot on bottom.

A farmhouse destroyed near Swifton.

A school and church near Bono.

A car thrown more than 300 yards near Swifton.

The site of the Pleasant Valley schoolhouse, with debarked/denuded trees all around.

A view of Guion taken several days afterward once Red Cross tents and such had been set up.

The Pleasant Valley schoolhouse, with children searching for their books and belongings.

The Riley home in Sneed.

What little was left of a homestead just outside of Sneed.

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