A line of strong winds reaching up to 60 mph moved across Northwest Arkansas, downing trees and causing power failures to more than 8,000 residents in the Fort Smith area Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
An outage map for Oklahoma Gas & Electric, which supplies power to the area, said more than 8,300 residents in the Fort Smith area are without power, with more than 1,000 residents also affected by the weather in surrounding areas.
Fort Smith dispatcher Amanda Bradford said the 911 call lines are “slammed” with callers reporting downed power lines and triggered alarms.
U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., said on Twitter that tornado damage has been “confirmed throughout Sebastian County,” but that there have been no reported injuries.
Multiple counties across the northern and western portion of the state were under warnings and watches Saturday afternoon.
--Clara Turnage, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
A tornado watch is in effect for all of eastern Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas until 5 PM this evening, according to the National Weather Service.
The counties included in Northwest Arkansas are Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Franklin, Madison, Sebastian and Washington counties.
Occasional showers and thunderstorms will be possible for most of eastern Oklahoma, with isolated coverage of mainly light showers to remain possible over Northwest Arkansas, the report said.
This morning's stronger storms could produce large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes from mid morning through the afternoon and into the evening hours.
Conditions will become increasingly favorable for tornadoes during the afternoon and evening hours across parts of southeast Oklahoma and western Arkansas, the report said.
Flash flooding will also be possible, as rainfall rates in the heavier downpours could range from 1 to 2 inches per hour.
Parts of far southeast Oklahoma and west central Arkansas will be most at risk for the high end severe weather with strong tornadoes possible in the afternoon and evening hours.
The worst storms will likely move out of the area by the early morning hours on Sunday, the report added.