President Obama will visit Little Rock on Wednesday to view damage caused by a tornado that reportedly killed at least 16 people in Arkansas, the White House confirmed Saturday. The president will also meet with families and first responders, officials said.
The tornado last Sunday traveled 80 miles and left rubble in its wake, followed by flooding that caused more damage. The storms killed up to three dozen people in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Iowa, according to news reports.
"We have disaster-relief funding headed our way, but there's more we can do to give Arkansans the help they need," Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) said in a statement. "I'm pleased the president is headed to Arkansas and can see the devastation firsthand."
Pryor is engaged in a tight reelection campaign against Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in a race that Democrats say is among several contests crucial to their prospects of maintaining control of the upper chamber. The trip will mark Obama's first visit to the state since 2006, when he was a U.S. senator.
Obama will stop in Arkansas on the way to California, where he will spend Wednesday through Friday attending Democratic fundraisers and holding an event on energy in San Jose.