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Huge Hail/Pockets of Heavy Rain on May 11-12, 2017
 
Colder air surrounded a storm system aloft ("L") in the Texas panhandle early on 05/11/2017. This moved over warmer air (afternoon temperatures in the upper 70s to upper 80s in Arkansas) to the east, and the atmosphere became very unstable.
In the picture: Colder air surrounded a storm system aloft ("L") in the Texas panhandle early on 05/11/2017. This moved over warmer air (afternoon temperatures in the upper 70s to upper 80s in Arkansas) to the east, and the atmosphere became very unstable.
 

The atmosphere across Arkansas became very unstable during the afternoon of May 11th. A storm system in the southern Plains spread colder air over above average temperatures (readings in the upper 70s and upper 80s) near the ground. Warm air generally rises, but it went up faster as it cooled overhead. This created powerful updrafts into developing thunderstorms.

 

The satellite showed thunderstorms readily developing around a storm system aloft ("L") in western Oklahoma during the afternoon of 05/11/2017.
Satellite at 245 pm CDT (05/11)  |  Satellite at 345 pm CDT (05/11)
Satellite at 445 pm CDT (05/11)
In the pictures: The satellite showed thunderstorms readily developing around a storm system aloft ("L") in western Oklahoma during the afternoon of 05/11/2017.
 

Raindrops were carried to cold cloud tops, and turned into ice. Hailstones were suspended in the clouds for a prolonged period, and became huge. When they finally came down, they were jaw-dropping and destructive. 

 

A WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) cross section of a severe storm in Marion County showed a hail core (ice) suspended well aloft in subfreezing air by powerful updrafts at 408 pm CDT on 05/11/2017. The suspended core was just as obvious in a four panel display, with the storm tilting with height near Dodd City (Marion County). At 0.5 degrees (10,500 feet), ice was evident north of town (marked with a yellow "X"). At 2.4 degrees (29,500 feet), ice was over the town, with nothing directly below. 
Cross Section of Storm at 408 pm CDT (05/11)
Four Panel Display of Storm at 408 pm CDT (05/11)
In the pictures: A WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) cross section of a severe storm in Marion County showed a hail core (ice) suspended well aloft in subfreezing air by powerful updrafts at 408 pm CDT on 05/11/2017. The suspended core was just as obvious in a four panel display, with the storm tilting with height near Dodd City (Marion County). At 0.5 degrees (10,500 feet), ice was evident north of town (marked with a yellow "X"). At 2.4 degrees (29,500 feet), ice was over the town, with nothing directly below. 
 

Baseball to softball size hail was reported near Cauthron (Logan County), Omaha (Boone County), and Bull Shoals (Marion County). At Omaha (Boone County), windows were busted out of vehicles.

 

Hail was extreme (baseball size and larger) at Bull Shoals (Marion County). Similar size hail punched holes and busted out vehicle windows at Omaha (Boone County). Rotation was noted in a couple of storms, with a wall cloud witnessed north of Mountain Home (Baxter County). The photos are courtesy of Michael McCloskey (via Twitter), Scott Shaddox (via Twitter), and Seth Gray (via Facebook) respectively. 
Hail Nearly Baseball Size at Bull Shoals (Marion County)
Holes Punched in Vehicle Window in Omaha (Boone County)
A Wall Cloud North of Mountain Home (Baxter County)
In the pictures: Hail was extreme (baseball size and larger) at Bull Shoals (Marion County). Similar size hail punched holes and busted out vehicle windows at Omaha (Boone County). Rotation was noted in a couple of storms, with a wall cloud witnessed north of Mountain Home (Baxter County). The photos are courtesy of Michael McCloskey (via Twitter), Scott Shaddox (via Twitter), and Seth Gray (via Facebook) respectively. 
 

Hail at least four inches in diameter (softball size) had not been reported in the state since 2015. This was one of only fifty or so cases of hail this large in Arkansas since 1950. Ten of these cases were on April 2, 2006 (a classic huge hail episode). To sum it up, this was a somewhat rare event.

There was an instance of wind damage during the evening. At Romance (White County), a mobile home shifted on its foundation. Outbuildings and carports were also blown around. 

 

Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 05/12/2017.
In the picture: Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 05/12/2017.
 

Of course, given so much rain lately, there were pockets of heavy rain to go along with the hail. Twenty four hour precipitation through 700 am CDT on the 12th included 3.30 inches at Evening Shade (Sharp County), 2.50 inches at Batesville Lock and Dam (Independence County), 2.44 inches at Clinton (Van Buren County) and De Queen (Sevier County), 2.43 inches at Center Ridge (Conway County), 2.24 inches at Mena (Polk County), and 2.07 inches at Subiaco (Logan County). Most places got a half inch to an inch-and-a-half.

As the aforementioned system moved through the area on the 12th, numerous showers and hit and miss thunderstorms redeveloped, especially in the afternoon. There were brief heavy downpours and a few reports of small hail. Some locations got over an inch of liquid where downpours lingered. At Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), for example, 1.34 inches of rain dumped between 11 am and 12 pm CDT. There was a report of over two inches of rain in three hours at Jacksonville (Pulaski County). Flooding occurred along Highway 161 in town. 

 

Storm Reports
Preliminary reports of severe weather and flash flooding in the Little Rock County Warning Area on May 11-12, 2017 (in red).
Submit a storm report.
There were several reports of very large hail in northern and western Arkansas on May 11th. There was one report of wind damage in central sections of the state. Isolated flash flooding happened on the 12th. For a look at the reports, click here.
 
Link of Interest
Plot Reports
In the picture: Preliminary reports of severe weather and flash flooding in the Little Rock County Warning Area on May 11-12, 2017 (in red).