Tornadoes, high winds rip through parts of Arkansas

Posted: April 10, 2013 at 9:25 a.m.
Updated: April 10, 2013 at 5:50 p.m.

This National Weather Service map shows the counties under a tornado watch until 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Heavy storms blew across the state Wednesday afternoon, causing untold amounts of damage and several tornadoes.

The most significant damage was done to Van Buren County, with a confirmed tornado touching down near Clinton around 5 p.m. that severely damaged several structures, including a church. An 18-wheeler was also reported to have been flipped on its side.

In all, Tornado Warnings were issued in 14 Arkansas counties over a three-and-a-half-hour period on Wednesday, with two confirmed touchdowns. A majority of the counties that were issued the warnings were in the north and north-central counties in the state, including Van Buren, Conway, Baxter, Pope and Stone, among others.

At the peak of the storm activity, around 6,000 Entergy customers were reportedly without, according to the company's website. A majority of the outages were in Van Buren County, with 1,230 customers still without power as of 8:15 p.m. Wednesday night.

Multiple county offices in and around the state including those in Pulaski, Fulton and White counties reported no major incidents caused by the storms. White and Fulton counties were under Tornado Warnings earlier in the day.

A majority of the severe weather warnings expired across the state by 8 p.m.


The National Weather Service has canceled Tornado Watches for Calhoun, Clark, Cleburne, Dallas, Faulkner, Fulton, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Izard, Ouachita, Pike, Pulaski, Saline and Stone counties.

Flood Warnings are beginning to be issued around the state, with those near the Cache River above Augusta and White River near Patterson being advised to act with caution. The warning for the White River is set until 7 a.m. Sunday, with the Patterson area under their warning until further notice.

A majority of the counties in central, south-central, eastern and northeastern Arkansas are currently under a Significant Weather Advisory until 8:35 p.m.

There are currently no Tornado Warnings in the state.

7:14 p.m UPDATE

The Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Pulaski County has expired, according to the National Weather Service in Little Rock.

Similar warnings for Grant, Jefferson, Lonoke, Saline, Bradley, Calhoun, Cleveland, Dallas, Drew and Lincoln counties have also expired.

Tornado watches have been put into effect for Arkansas, Bradley, Calhoun, Clark, Cleburne, Cleveland, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Faulkner, Fulton, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Jefferson, Lincoln, Lonoke, Monroe, Ouachita, Pike, Prairie, Pulaski, Saline, Sharp, Stone, White and Woodruff counties until 9:00 p.m. tonight.

NWS also canceled Tornado Watches for Baxter, Conway, Marion, Montgomery, Perry, Pope, Searcy, Van Buren and Yell counties.

Despite an earlier Tornado Warning, White County Sheriff's Office spokesman Barry Higginbotham said there has been no serious damage reported in the area.

6:53 p.m. UPDATE

A Tornado Warning has been issued for Cleburne, Independence, Stone and White counties until 7:15 p.m according to the National Weather Service. The most severe chance of a tornado is located in a cell four miles southwest of Pangburn.

The storm is moving northeast at 40 mile per hour.


A number if central Arkansas counties are now under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, including Faulkner, Lonoke, Prairie, Pulaski, White, Woodruff, Bradley, Calhoun, Cleveland, Dallas, Drew, Grant, Jefferson and Saline. All warnings are set to expire at 7:15 p.m.

The lone Tornado Warning is for Fulton County in the far northern part of the state, which is set to expire at 6:45 p.m.

Power outages from the storm are up to around 5,000, according to the Entergy website. Nearly 4,000 of those occurred in Clinton, which experienced at least one confirmed tornado touchdown Wednesday afternoon.


A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is in effect for Cleburne, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Sharp and Stone counties until 7 p.m.

The Tornado Warning for Stone County has expired. However, a Tornado Warning has been issued for Fulton Country until 6:45 p.m.


A funnel cloud has been spotted one mile northwest of Allison in Stone County, according to the National Weather Service in Little Rock. The funnel was spotted at 5:40 p.m.

Additionally, Flash Flood Warnings are in effect for Conway, Pope, Searcy, Stone and Van Buren counties until 8:30 p.m.

Nearly 3,000 customers are without power across the areas affected by the storms, according to the Entergy website.

Fulton has been added to the list of counties under a Tornado Warning, which runs until 6:45 p.m.

5:30 p.m. UPDATE

The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Pulaski, Conway, Faulkner, Perry and Saline counties until 6 p.m.

Reports are also coming out of a homeowner complaining of tornado damage a mile north of Highway 70 on Bumblebee Road in Montgomery County.

NWS also issued a Tornado Warning for Izard and Stone counties until 6 p.m.

5:15 p.m. UPDATE

Officials with the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office have confirmed damage in several areas, including significant damage on Scotland Formosa Road in southwestern Van Buren County.

NWS also issued a Tornado Warning for Stone County until 5:30 p.m. Doppler radar indicated a storm capable of producing a tornado near Thola, 11 miles east of Marshall. The storm is moving north at 55 miles per hour.

5:02 p.m. UPDATE

NWS has an unconfirmed reports of a tornado on the ground 13.2 miles north of Clinton at 4:53 p.m.

Local reports are coming out that a house was destroyed, along with an 18-wheeler flipped over in Botkinburg at 4:45 p.m.

4:40 p.m. UPDATE

The National Weather Service in Little Rock reported a tornado was spotted six miles west of Clinton at 4:33 p.m. No word on the size of the funnel cloud, or the extent of the damage.

In addition, a Tornado Warning has been issued for Baxter, Izard, Marion, Searcy, Stone and Van Buren counties until 5:30 p.m.

4:10 p.m. UPDATE

The National Weather Service in Little Rock confirmed a funnel cloud was spotted near Blick, about 15 miles north of Morrilton. The storm in that area is moving northeast at 55 miles per hour.

Meteorologist John Robinson released an update on current storm conditions around the state as well. While the storms are building as expected, right now traveling across the western part of the state, the main tornado threat going forward will be in front of the main line of storms, Robinson said.

Damaging winds still remain the greatest threat from this line of storms, along with the chance of hail as large as golf balls in some cases.

The storms most capable of producing a tornado will likely hit a line of cities from Gurdon to Clinton to Mountain Home.

The storm cell should leave the through the eastern part of the state a few hours after midnight, Robinson said.

1:45 p.m. Update:

The National Weather Service in Little Rock has issued several tornado watches across the state. The following counties are under a tornado watch until 9 p.m.:

Arkansas, Baxter, Bradley, Calhoun, Clark, Cleburne, Cleveland, Conway, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Faulkner, Fulton, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Jefferson, Lincoln, Lonoke, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Ouachita, Perry, Pike, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, Saline, Searcy, Sharp, Stone, Van Buren, White, Woodruff and Yell.

The National Weather Service warned Wednesday that damaging winds, hail and small, isolated tornadoes were possible as a cold front and a round of thunderstorms swept into the state.

Winds of 15 to 25 miles per hour and some 30 mph gusts are expected ahead of the cold front sweeping from eastern Oklahoma into Northwest Arkansas during the morning, the weather service said. Showers and thunderstorms will become likely in the late afternoon and evening, after the cold front shifts east by midafternoon, the weather service said.

Some strong to severe thunderstorms are possible, with the main threats being damaging winds and large hail, forecasters said. A few weak tornadoes are considered possible, likely only in the eastern third of the state.

"Through the rest of the morning and early afternoon, any strong storms are likely to be in the cooler air behind the front," weather service Warning Coordination Meteorologist John Robinson wrote in an e-mail, adding that those could produce small hail. "As of 9 a.m., the front had just passed Harrison and had moved through Booneville but was still to the west of Mena."

The thunderstorms are expected to hit the Little Rock area in the late afternoon or early evening, leaving the state within a few hours after midnight, Robinson wrote.

"The main severe weather threat with this line will be damaging winds. A secondary threat will be large hail, and, in a few instances, the hail could be golf ball size hail or larger," Robinson said. "Isolated tornadoes will be possible, but we are not expecting a big tornado outbreak. Best chances of a tornado will be east of a line from Texarkana to Mountain Home."

A few severe thunderstorm warnings and possibly a few tornado warnings are also expected, he said.

Localized flash flooding is also a threat, as rainfall totals of 1 to 2 inches are expected, with 3 inches possible in some parts, the weather service said. The heaviest rainfall is expected in the state's eastern half.

A flash flood watch is in effect from Wednesday evening until Thursday morning in extreme southeast Arkansas, with Ashley and Chicot counties in the endangered area, a region that includes the cities of Crossett, Dermott, Eudora, Hamburg and Lake Village.

Meanwhile, a flood warning is in effect for the White River at Augusta and for the Cache River near Patterson, while a flood advisory is in effect for the Black River at Pocahontas and for Eleven Point River near Ravenden Springs, both in Randolph County.


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