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Storm Reports
Are you interested in what happened during a recent event? Check out the report below.
 
Record Heat/Severe Storms on March 26-28, 2020
 
High temperatures on 03/26/2020. Readings were in the 80s to lower 90s.
In the picture: High temperatures on 03/26/2020. Readings were in the 80s to lower 90s.
 

Toward the end of March, it started feeling like summer on the 26th. A warm front exited to the north of the state, and ushered in well above average temperatures in the 80s to lower 90s.

 

Record high temperatures on 03/26/2020.
In the picture: Record high temperatures on 03/26/2020.
 

The high of 91 degrees at Harrison (Boone County) shattered the previous daily record of 81 degrees set in 2012. At Little Rock (Pulaski County), the mercury hit 88 degrees. It had not been this toasty since 1907 on this day when it was 85 degrees.

 

The surface map showed a storm system ("L") in eastern Nebraska dragging a cold front into Arkansas at 100 pm CDT on 03/28/2020. It was warm ahead of the front, with temperatures in the 70s to lower 80s. It was the most unstable to the north of Arkansas where the storm system interfaced with a warm front. The front separated springlike air to its south from much cooler conditions (temperatures in the 40s/50s) to the north.
In the picture: The surface map showed a storm system ("L") in eastern Nebraska dragging a cold front into Arkansas at 100 pm CDT on 03/28/2020. It was warm ahead of the front, with temperatures in the 70s to lower 80s. It was the most unstable to the north of Arkansas where the storm system interfaced with a warm front. The front separated springlike air to its south from much cooler conditions (temperatures in the 40s/50s) to the north.
 

By the 28th, it was a bit cooler with readings in the 70s to lower 80s (there were a lot of clouds). This was still well over normals in the mid 60s to lower 70s. A cold front was on the doorstep, and expected to bring good chances of showers and thunderstorms.

 

There was an enhanced to moderate risk of severe weather to the north of Arkansas on 03/28/2020, and a slight risk locally. The forecast is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
In the picture: There was an enhanced to moderate risk of severe weather to the north of Arkansas on 03/28/2020, and a slight risk locally. The forecast is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
 

While there was a potential of severe weather around here, conditions were more favorable for severe storms well to the north. This is where the aforementioned warm front ventured, and separated two wildly different air masses (a twenty to thirty degree difference across the front). There was also a storm system nearby to give storms the spark they needed to take off.

 

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed showers and isolated thunderstorms moving across Arkansas during the afternoon and early evening of 03/28/2020. Storms became a little more numerous and intense as they neared the Mississippi River. Precipitation was ahead of an incoming cold front from the Plains. The main storm system tied to the front was well to the north in eastern Nebraska and northwest Iowa, with rain swirling/wrapping around the system.
Radar at 118 pm CDT (03/28)  |  Radar at 248 pm CDT (03/28)
Radar at 428 pm CDT (03/28)  |  Radar at 608 pm CDT (03/28)
Radar at 728 pm CDT (03/28)  |  Loop
In the pictures: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed showers and isolated thunderstorms moving across Arkansas during the afternoon and early evening of 03/28/2020. Storms became a little more numerous and intense as they neared the Mississippi River. Precipitation was ahead of an incoming cold front from the Plains. The main storm system tied to the front was well to the north in eastern Nebraska and northwest Iowa, with rain swirling/wrapping around the system.
 

For much of the day, precipitation behaved as it should around here (not much happening). A large area of showers crossed Arkansas during the afternoon, and there were rumbles of thunder at times. But as rain headed into eastern sections of the state, things got interesting.

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a supercell (storm with rotating updrafts) and its classic kidney bean shape near Amagon (Jackson County) at 418 pm CDT on 03/28/2020. The radar detected inbound winds (green) adjacent to outbound (red) winds, indicating turning aloft. A Tornado Warning was in effect at the time. This storm tracked to the northeast and arrived in Jonesboro (Craighead County) shortly before 500 pm CDT.
In the picture: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a supercell (storm with rotating updrafts) and its classic kidney bean shape near Amagon (Jackson County) at 418 pm CDT on 03/28/2020. The radar detected inbound winds (green) adjacent to outbound (red) winds, indicating turning aloft. A Tornado Warning was in effect at the time. This storm tracked to the northeast and arrived in Jonesboro (Craighead County) shortly before 500 pm CDT.
 

Rotation picked up in one storm near Tupelo (Jackson County), and a Tornado Warning was issued at 359 pm CDT. About twenty minutes later, there were reports of roofs off of homes between Algoa and Amagon (both in Jackson County). Farm equipment storage buildings were dismantled, and trees were uprooted.

 

A weak tornado (rated EF1) was responsible for property and tree damage from four miles south to three miles east of Amagon (Jackson County) on 03/28/2020.
Farm Machinery Metal Building Destroyed South of Amagon (Jackson County)
House Roof Lifted and Material Missing South of Amagon (Jackson County)
Home Roof Damage and Large Tree Uprooted East of Amagon (Jackson County)
In the pictures: A weak tornado (rated EF1) was responsible for property and tree damage from four miles south to three miles east of Amagon (Jackson County) on 03/28/2020.
 

A tornado was definitely to blame, and was given a rating of EF1 (110 mph winds) by the National Weather Service in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The tornado dissipated close to the Poinsett County line (a path length of just over five miles).

 

 

In the video: A tornado was captured (forty seconds into the clip) along Interstate 555 at Red Wolf Boulevard in Jonesboro (Craighead County) shortly before 500 pm CDT on 03/28/2020. The tornado widened quickly before tearing through the south/east side of town. The video is courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Transportation.
 

Rotation weakened temporarily, but cranked up again (30 miles to the northeast) as the storm arrived on the south/east side of Jonesboro (Craighead County) shortly before 500 pm CDT. Numerous homes and businesses (including a mall) were heavily damaged or destroyed, and cars were tossed like toys. Hangers and planes were ripped up at the airport, and a 74 mph gust was measured by observing equipment. Just north of the airport, a train was derailed. At least twenty people were injured, but there were no casualties.

 

 
In the pictures: Damage was extensive in Jonesboro (Craighead County) following a tornado (rated EF3) on 03/28/2020. The photos are courtesy of the Jonesboro Police Department via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheJonesboroPD/posts/534831167425802).
 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was not much going on around town. Stores were either closed or experiencing much lighter than normal traffic. According to officials, areas that were affected by the tornado would have been crowded, and this situation (from a fatality/injury standpoint) could have been much worse.

The nightmare did not end at Jonesboro (Craighead County). The storm traveled through Brookland (Craighead County) and just east of Paragould (Greene County), and caused more chaos.

 

In the picture: A damage survey team from the National Weather Service in Memphis, TN confirmed two tornadoes in northeast Arkansas on 03/28/2020. The Jonesboro (Craighead County) tornado was given a preliminary rating of EF3 (maximum winds around 140 mph).
 

A damage survey by the National Weather Service in Memphis, TN confirmed an EF3 tornado (140 mph winds) at Jonesboro (Craighead County). This was the strongest tornado in the state since the EF4 monster twister that pummeled Mayflower and Vilonia (both in Faulkner County) on April 27, 2014. A separate tornado (rated EF1) was identified in southeast Greene County (a total of three tornadoes during the event).

 

 

Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 03/29/2020.
In the picture: Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 03/29/2020.
 

In general, the system/front featured during this event was not a big rain producer. Much of the region received less than a half inch of liquid. A few spots had amounts of an inch or more, including Batesville (Independence County), Newport (Jackson County), Stuttgart (Arkansas County), and Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County).

 

Soil moisture was very high/well above average in many areas east of the Rockies on 03/25/2020.
In the picture: Soil moisture was very high/well above average in many areas east of the Rockies on 03/25/2020.
 

With rivers running high and elevated ground water levels, a heavy rain event would have certainly created flood/flash flood issues. Fortunately, it was not to be this time.

 

Storm Reports
Preliminary reports of severe weather in the Little Rock County Warning Area on March 28, 2020 (in red).
Submit a storm report.
There was isolated severe weather (a tornado) in northeast Arkansas on March 28th. 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 March 28, 2020 (in red).