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Severe Storms/Heavy Rain/Windy on April 2-5, 2017
 
Severe weather was most likely ahead of a cold front (blue line) and surrounding a warm front (red line) on 04/02/2017. The target area was eastern Texas, much of Louisiana, and southern Mississippi. This is where the atmosphere was the most warm (temperatures in the 70s) and moist (dewpoints in the mid 60s to lower 70s).
In the picture: Severe weather was most likely ahead of a cold front (blue line) and surrounding a warm front (red line) on 04/02/2017. The target area was eastern Texas, much of Louisiana, and southern Mississippi. This is where the atmosphere was the most warm (temperatures in the 70s) and moist (dewpoints in the mid 60s to lower 70s).
 

A huge severe weather episode was expected to unfold on April 2nd. The ingredients were in place to support numerous severe storms, with tornadoes and wind damage the primary concerns.

 

There was a rare high risk of severe weather in parts of Louisiana on 04/02/2017, with a slight to moderate risk in Arkansas south of Little Rock (Pulaski County).
In the picture: There was a rare high risk of severe weather in parts of Louisiana on 04/02/2017, with a slight to moderate risk in Arkansas south of Little Rock (Pulaski County).
 

While southern Arkansas was in the crosshairs of this potential big event, the main target area was eastern Texas into Louisiana and southern Mississippi.

 

 

Simulated radar showed a bowing line of storms (bow echo with strong to damaging winds) in central Texas (at 900 am CDT) sweeping into southern Arkansas (between 500 pm and 700 pm CDT) on 04/02/2017. Ahead of the bow echo, scattered supercells (storms with rotating updrafts and possible tornadoes) were noted, mainly from eastern Texas into Louisiana. North of the bow echo, there was widespread rain and embedded thunderstorms.
Simulated Radar at 900 am CDT (04/02)  |  Simulated Radar at 1100 am CDT (04/02)
Simulated Radar at 100 pm CDT (04/02)  |  Simulated Radar at 300 pm CDT (04/02)
Simulated Radar at 500 pm CDT (04/02)  |  Simulated Radar at 700 pm CDT (04/02)
In the pictures: Simulated radar showed a bowing line of storms (bow echo with strong to damaging winds) in central Texas (at 900 am CDT) sweeping into southern Arkansas (between 500 pm and 700 pm CDT) on 04/02/2017. Ahead of the bow echo, scattered supercells (storms with rotating updrafts and possible tornadoes) were noted, mainly from eastern Texas into Louisiana. North of the bow echo, there was widespread rain and embedded thunderstorms.
 

Before the event got rolling, simulated radar showed two prominent features to focus on. There would likely be a fast moving line of bowing storms (and wind damage), with discreet supercells (and tornadoes) ahead of the line.

 

There were numerous flood and severe weather headlines/hazards to the south of Arkansas at 130 pm CDT on 04/02/2017.
In the picture: There were numerous flood and severe weather headlines/hazards to the south of Arkansas at 130 pm CDT on 04/02/2017.
 

There were numerous Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings issued. In addition, Flash Flood Watches and Warnings were posted given areas of heavy to excessive rain.

There were more than a dozen reports of tornadoes along the Gulf Coast. Most of these were in Louisiana, with at least two fatalities reported. In Mississippi, flood waters claimed at least one life, with another death blamed on a tree falling on a home.

 

Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 04/03/2017.
In the picture: Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 04/03/2017.
 

Over six inches of rain dumped on portions of Louisiana and Mississippi. In southern Arkansas, more than two inches of liquid fell in places. Twenty four hour totals through 700 am CDT on the 3rd included 2.72 inches at El Dorado (Union County), 2.65 inches at Sparkman (Dallas County), 2.20 inches at Fordyce (Dallas County), 1.92 inches at Camden (Ouachita County), 1.85 inches at Cane Creek State Park (Lincoln County), 1.82 inches at Bluff City (Nevada County), and 1.65 inches at Crossett (Ashley County).

 

Wake Low in Northeast Arkansas
Following thunderstorms at Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County), there was rapid clearing during the evening of the 2nd. As it started drying out, the pressure dropped rapidly (from 29.86 inches at 735 pm CDT to 29.60 inches at 815 pm CDT). There was a tight pressure gradient between this newly formed "wake low" (in the wake of departing precipitation) and higher pressure where it was raining. Winds ramped up, with a 52 mph gust measured. Windy conditions continued until around 900 pm CDT. As the pressure climbed, winds calmed down.

 

There were a lot of severe weather reports on April 2-4, 2017. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
Storm Reports (04/02)  |  Storm Reports (04/03)  |  Storm Reports (04/04)
In the pictures: There were a lot of severe weather reports on April 2-4, 2017. The graphics are courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
 

The fireworks shifted over the southeast United States on the 3rd. A tornado (rated EF1) flipped a mobile home in South Carolina, and a man was killed. More than two dozen tornadoes touched down in Georgia. The next day (the 4th), severe weather was back on the radar in the middle of the country, and parts of Arkansas were included. 

 

A big storm system aloft ("L") wobbled toward Arkansas from the Plains on 04/04/2017. At 300 mb (roughly 30,000 feet), southwest winds howled at 80 to more than 100 knots (92 to 115 mph). This not only provided ventilation for storms to breath more readily (inhaling air from below to create powerful updrafts), it gave storms a fast forward speed. Also, the atmosphere became increasingly more unstable as progressively cooler temperatures (dashed blue lines) spread over warmer conditions near the ground.
In the picture: A big storm system aloft ("L") wobbled toward Arkansas from the Plains on 04/04/2017. At 300 mb (roughly 30,000 feet), southwest winds howled at 80 to more than 100 knots (92 to 115 mph). This not only provided ventilation for storms to breath more readily (inhaling air from below to create powerful updrafts), it gave storms a fast forward speed. Also, the atmosphere became increasingly more unstable as progressively cooler temperatures (dashed blue lines) spread over warmer conditions near the ground.
 

A large storm system wobbled toward the region, and was expected to trigger showers and thunderstorms during the evening. Most reports of wind damage and hail were collected between 700 pm and midnight CDT.

 

Clouds (in blue) wrapped around a storm system in the Plains, with thunderstorms building into western Arkansas at 915 pm CDT on 04/04/2017.
In the picture: Clouds (in blue) wrapped around a storm system in the Plains, with thunderstorms building into western Arkansas at 915 pm CDT on 04/04/2017.
 

The strongest storms affected the northwest half of the state. Up to golf ball size hail pelted areas near Coal Hill (Johnson County) and Denning (Franklin County). Ping pong ball size hail occurred in Flippin (Marion County), with quarter size hail at Bergman (Boone County), Gassville (Baxter County), West Fork (Washington County), and Ozark (Franklin County). A 57 mph gust was measured at Rogers (Benton County). Trees were toppled at Berryville (Carroll County), and a roof was removed from a porch at Deer (Newton County).

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) at Springfield, MO showed a supercell (storm with rotating updrafts) close to Bergman (Boone County) at 930 pm CDT on 04/04/2017.
Reflectivity at 930 pm CDT (04/04)  |  Storm Relative Velocity at 930 pm CDT (04/04)
More Information About Rotation
In the pictures: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) at Springfield, MO showed a supercell (storm with rotating updrafts) close to Bergman (Boone County) at 930 pm CDT on 04/04/2017.
 

There was a weak tornado (rated EF1) about three miles north-northeast of Bergman (Boone County) around 934 pm CDT. Roofs were partially removed from several homes, and a mobile home and garage (attached to a house) were demolished. This was the 21st tornado of 2017 in Arkansas. 

 

 

This is an example of damage caused by a weak tornado (rated EF1) along Highway 7 between Bergman and South Lead Hill (both in Boone County) on 04/04/2017.
This is an example of damage caused by a weak tornado (rated EF1) along Highway 7 between Bergman and South Lead Hill (both in Boone County) on 04/04/2017.
In the pictures: Homes were damaged (roofs partly removed, siding torn off, etc) by a weak tornado (rated EF1) along Highway 7 between Bergman and South Lead Hill (both in Boone County) on 04/04/2017. The photos are courtesy of Kent McCormick, Boone County Emergency Manager. Click to enlarge.
 

Tornadoes were also confirmed in southwest Missouri. A fire station and elementary school were heavily damaged or destroyed by a tornado (rated EF2) in Goodman, MO. Another tornado (rated EF1) ripped apart farm buildings and damaged homes south of Washburn, MO.   

Rainfall was not a huge issue, with amounts generally under an inch. In the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on the 5th, 1.13 inches fell at Jordan (Baxter County), with 0.97 inch at Mountain Home (Baxter County), 0.95 inch at Calico Rock (Izard County), Gamaliel (Baxter County), and Silver Hill (Searcy County), 0.90 inch at Gilbert (Searcy County), and 0.85 inch at Harrison (Boone County).

 

Winds gusted from 30 to more than 40 mph at times (varying from southwest to northwest) during the afternoon of 04/05/2017.
In the picture: Winds gusted from 30 to more than 40 mph at times (varying from southwest to northwest) during the afternoon of 04/05/2017.
 

There were leftover showers on the 5th, and it was very windy. Southwest to northwest winds gusted from 30 to more than 40 mph. While severe storms were done locally, the southeast states were clobbered again with a severe weather outbreak (including tornadoes).

 

Storm Reports
Preliminary reports of severe weather in the Little Rock County Warning Area on April 2-5, 2017 (in red).
Submit a storm report.
There were a few reports of damaging straight-line winds in southern Arkansas on April 2nd. Hail, wind damage, and a tornado occurred in the northwest on the 4th/5th (early). For a look at the reports, click here.
 
Link of Interest
Plot Reports
In the picture: Preliminary reports of severe weather in the Little Rock County Warning Area on April 2-5, 2017 (in red).