A tornado shrouded by darkness skipped across northeastern Arkansas and western Tennessee early Thursday, killing four people, including a brother and sister who died in their mobile home. At least 22 people were injured.
Two of the deaths happened in Manila around 3 a.m. and two others an hour later in southeast Dyer County near Roellen, Tenn., across the Mississippi River some 50 miles away."People heard it but couldn't see it," said Manila firefighter Michael White. "It passed probably 400 yards from my house. There was so much lightning and rain I didn't see anything."
The mobile home in which the children were killed "was just destroyed," White said. "It was over in seconds." The children were describedas being around 8 and 3 years old.
Buildings also were damaged at Jonesboro and Blytheville in northeastern Arkansas. Two hundred structures, including some mobile homes, in the Manila area were damaged, said Jim Harris, a spokesman for Gov. Mike Huckabee. The governor said he would visit the community Thurs-day.
Among the damaged buildings in Manila were a factory that rebuilds brake parts and another that makes hydraulic lifts. Gas service was cut off in parts of the community, which has 2,600 people.
The storm was part of a series that rolled across northern and eastern Arkansas overnight. It appeared the same storm hit Manila and Roellen.
The two deaths in Tennessee also involved people in a mobile home. No other details were available. In the same county, Dyer County, a woman was taken to a hospital with broken ribs and a broken leg.
In the middle part of the state, three people were injured at a cluster of mobile homes in Dickson County, about 40 miles west of Nashville. The National Weather Service also reported golf-ball-size hail in Hermitage, just northeast of Nashville, and the city itself was buffeted with high wind and torrential rain.
Last week, storms killed 33 people around Birmingham, Ala. President Clinton visited the area Wednesday, saying the Labor Department would make available $3.2 million in emergency funds to create temporary cleanup jobs.
He also said the National Council of Churches had pledged to help rebuild or repair all the churches hit by the tornado.
As Clinton stopped to shake the hands of tornado victims, one in particular caught his eye. He cradled 9-week-old Shavannah Hubbert in his arms as the child's grandmother looked on with tears in her eyes.
"He cared enough to express sympathy at our losses and ask how we feel," said the grandmother, Sandy Hubbert. "They aren't just words - why would he come if he didn't care?"