Arkansas Tornadoes: How to Get Information and Assistance

Posted on 05/31/24 by Michelle Tuccitto Sullo

The "Open" sign of the Susie Q Malt Shop is recovered after the restaurant was destroyed by Sunday's tornado in Rogers, Ark., Monday, May 27, 2024. (Melyssa St. Michael/The New York Times)
The "Open" sign of the Susie Q Malt Shop is recovered after the restaurant was destroyed by Sunday's tornado in Rogers, Ark., Monday, May 27, 2024.
Melyssa St. Michael/The New York Times/Redux

Help is available for Arkansas residents impacted by the Memorial Day weekend storms and tornadoes, with assistance ranging from food to shelter.

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an executive order on May 26 declaring a state of emergency due to damage from severe storms, tornadoes and flooding. Impacted residents have been grappling in the aftermath with severely damaged homes and businesses and widespread power outages.

The governor’s office is coordinating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in response to the disaster.

In late May, Sanders reached out to President Joe Biden seeking a major disaster declaration, which Biden approved on May 30. This will provide federal help, such as individual assistance and U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loans, for those Arkansans impacted.

The state has launched the Arkansas Storm Recovery Information website to help affected residents.

AARP has compiled a list of government, nonprofit and other aid and information. This list will be updated as more information becomes available.

Food and housing assistance

Meals, childcare, showers and emergency shelters are among services offered. Visit the Arkansas Storm Recovery Information website for county-level details. The site includes advice for hiring a contractor following a storm.

American Red Cross: The state of Arkansas is partnering with the American Red Cross to help provide shelter to those displaced by the weather. Visit the state’s website for information on shelters near you, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Arkansas Food Bank: Search for food pantries in your area.

Department of Human Services: If you are a SNAP recipient and had food spoilage due to lost electricity, you may request a Declaration of Food Loss form from your local Department of Human Services office. Report any food loss within 10 days after getting your power back. Call the Access Arkansas Call Center at 1-855-372-1084 for more information.

Financial assistance

FEMA: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website has information on disaster-related assistance.

If your region is covered under the federal disaster declaration, you may qualify for a U.S. Small Business Administration loan. Homeowners and renters may also apply for an SBA disaster loan.

Sanders has signed an executive order authorizing paid leave, up to 40 hours, for state employees affected by the storms. State employees should contact their agency director to participate.

Reporting a power outage

Utility companies: Thousands of customers lost power as a result of storms, particularly in the northwest portion of the state. Report any power outages or utility service interruptions to your utility company. Check the latest outage map and find contacts for reporting an outage at

Severe weather safety tips The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides advice on dealing with severe weather, such as tornadoes and floods, including safety tips for their aftermath.

Emergency alerts and updates Download the FEMA app to sign up for real-time emergency alerts from the National Weather Service.

NOAA Weather Radio: Tune in to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) radio stations for information on current and upcoming weather in your area.

Weather forecasts: Visit the National Weather Service’s website ( and enter your city and state, or zip code.

Local news outlets: Monitor your television and radio stations for the latest information and instructions from emergency personnel.

Non-emergency help

Visit or call 211 to be connected with health and human services organizations in your community and for up-to-date information on shelters and health advisories.

Road conditions and transportation updates

The Arkansas Department of Transportation has information on road conditions. You can follow @IDriveArkansas on X (formerly known as Twitter) and download the app to check out road conditions before you travel.

Mental health resources

Disaster Distress Helpline: For assistance with mental health support, call or text the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s toll-free helpline at 800-985-5990. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to U.S. residents experiencing emotional distress due to disasters such as severe storms. Help is available in multiple languages.

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Call or text 988 to be connected with free and confidential support. This website also has an online chat feature.

Missing pets

A Facebook group, Lost and Found Pets of Northwest Arkansas, seeks to reunite families with their pets.


For more information on resources, visit the official Arkansas Storm Recovery Information website, which has a form for residents to fill out for assistance.

Michelle Tuccitto Sullo is a states writer and editor for AARP. She previously served as managing editor of the Hartford Business Journal in Connecticut and has worked for the New Haven Register, Connecticut Law Tribune and New Haven Biz.

AARP Resources

This story is provided by AARP Arkansas. Visit the AARP Arkansas page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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