Conway Parks and Recreation employees were cleaning up the beach and other areas at Beaverfork Lake Park on Monday after straight-line winds caused damage to nearly 20 trees on Friday.
With the use of a dump truck, workers had filled and moved multiple loads of debris by Monday afternoon.
Beaverfork Lake Manager Thomas Meares said the sudden storm Friday took out the trees.
“It’s pretty extensive damage,” he said.
The city of Conway announced via social media Monday afternoon that the swim area had reopened. However, Meares told the Log Cabin Democrat that he thought other areas near the beach, such as the disk golf course, would take longer to clean.
Meares said officials hope to have the entire park open before the end of the week.
“It’s going to take a little bit to clean up,” he said.
Marty Trexler with the National Weather Service in Little Rock said the department checked the damage and determined that it was caused by the strong thunderstorm winds and not a tornado — the radar never showed a tornado, nor did the NWS receive any reports about funnel clouds.
Lake resident Conner Lusby said he was home during the storm and thought it was a tornado, adding that his family sought cover in the basement.
Lusby said he tried to peek outside but, other than spotting some debris, his view was obstructed by the whiteness of the intense rain.
A tree in his front yard and a couple in his back yard, near a boat dock, were toppled.
Lusby said this was not the first time in the eight years he has lived there that weather impacted his home, and it’s not the first time they’ve had to clean up damage.
The Log Cabin Democrat witnessed several homes that had damage. One home's driveway was obstructed by a fallen tree. A brick fence at another home was caved in from another tree.
Conway’s Amy Ferdowsian said the storm came quickly.
“We noticed the hard rain, then not long after that I looked outside to see the wind moving things all around the yard,” she said in a Facebook message to the LCD. “It looked bad enough to me to get my kids and head for the closet.”
The mom of two said they could hear hail hitting the window before their electricity went out.
“When I felt safe enough, I looked out and saw dime-size hail and several large and small branches down,” Ferdowsian said. “I worried about our room and cars, but they were okay.”
She said other houses in the neighborhood had roof damage, and entire trees were down as well as a large branch that blocked part of their road.
“Lawn furniture was flipped around,” Ferdowsian said. “I had wondered if a small tornado had gone through, or if it was straight-line winds. It was very unexpected and startling.”
Several businesses in town, including PattiCakes Bakery, also suffered at the hands of the storm.
Owner Patti Stobaugh took to Facebook on Friday to announce a late opening for the following morning.
Stobaugh told the LCD on Monday that the destroyed the bakery’s air conditioner and one pie case.