Residents around Prospect Road describe experience, aftermath of March 28 tornado

“There were so many beeping noises. It’s insane, I can still hear that noise in the back of my head from everything being without power.”
Updated: Mar. 28, 2021 at 10:45 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) -The Jonesboro tornado hit its peak as it moved off the airport and over Prospect Road with winds up to 150 miles per hour.

Hours before, Shana and Jeff Watson were having a nice Saturday.

Their niece called them warning them of the storm, so they turned on the T.V.

“When we saw the footage of the funnel actually coming down over around the Cheddars area, Ryan mentioned it looks like it’s heading in the direction of Brookland. That’s when we knew we had to do something,” Jeff said.

On the other side of Prospect, the tornado had already arrived at Melanie Weathers’ house.

The 32-week pregnant single mom took cover with her 2-year-old son less than a mile away from the Watson’s home.

As the Watson’s waited for the tornado to arrive, Shana started to hear something.

“I said no, that’s just not possible. We’re fixing to get hit by a tornado, no one is out in this weather. Of course, she ran to the door and sure enough, there was this sweet old woman from our church,” said Jeff.

They hurried to the bathroom as debris started to hit their house and started to pray.

Across Prospect, the tornado had already passed Melanie Weathers’ house.

“Rain was dripping through, and the ceiling was off. I walked outside and the whole neighborhood joined at that point,” Weathers said. “There were so many beeping noises. It’s insane, I can still hear that noise in the back of my head from everything being without power.”

Soon the Watsons, and the woman they rescued, emerged from their damaged home.

“Then I looked out our kitchen door and a wall was gone. Next, I noticed a tree had fallen where Linda was standing right at our front door,” Jeff said. “If my wife hadn’t heard her, we may have had the only casualty.”

A year later, houses on Prospect Road are in different states of repair. Some are finished, some are in the process of being finished, and others still show the exposed foundation and tile left by the Jonesboro tornado.

As for the Watsons and Melanie, they decided to rebuild their homes on the original sites.

“The house before never really felt like home. This house did,” said Weathers.

And to make it feel even more like home, Melanie made sure a storm shelter was part of the rebuild plans.

“We’ve rebuilt, we’re back, and it’s going to be good now,” said Weathers.

To see other stories featured in KAIT’s special, “The Jonesboro Tornado: One Year Later,” click here.

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