Severe storms sweep across state
Posted: October 17, 2012 at 7:45 a.m.
Updated: October 17, 2012 at 8:35 p.m.
8:35 p.m. update
Severe storms capable of producing tornadoes, hail and damaging winds are sweeping across parts of Arkansas Wednesday evening.
Areas east of the Little Rock metro have experienced the most severe weather so far. The National Weather Service in Little Rock confirmed a tornado in Clarendon at 7:40 p.m. that left the entire town without power. NWS also reported downed trees and power lines in Clarendon and El Dorado.
Including Clarendon, Entergy reported over 2,600 power failures as of 8:30 p.m.
Severe weather, including strong storms capable of producing tornadoes, is predicted across Arkansas on Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.
John Robinson, warning coordination meteorologist with the weather service in North Little Rock, said the severe weather would likely develop in Northwest Arkansas in the early to mid-afternoon and sweep east, developing into a line of storms by early evening.
The majority of the storms should leave the state between 10 p.m. and midnight, Robinson said in a statement.
The eastern half of Arkansas is most likely to take the brunt of it, though any part of the state could see storms, Robinson said, adding that damaging winds are the greatest threat Wednesday.
Wind gusts of 30 mph will be common, with 40 mph bursts possible, he said, describing winds separate from thunderstorms.
The National Weather Service in Little Rock issued a tornado watch Wednesday evening until 2 a.m. Thursday for most of the state except far northwest Arkansas and parts of southern Arkansas. The watch area includes Little Rock, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Mena, Harrison, Mountain Home, Jonesboro and Pine Bluff. It stretches as far south as Camden and Monticello.
“A few tornadoes could occur, and a tornado of EF2 intensity cannot be ruled out, especially in southeast Arkansas,” Robinson said. “There will probably be a few instances of large hail.”
The state’s severe weather will be tempered by the fact that moisture coming from the Gulf of Mexico be will only low-level, Robinson said.
Some information provided by the Associated Press.