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Storm Reports
Are you interested in what happened during a recent event? Check out the report below.
 
Isolated Hailstorms on April 19-20, 2020
 
In 2020, there were numerous tornadoes across the southern United States through 04/17/2020. There were 40 to 50 tornadoes in Georgia and Texas, 50 to 60 tornadoes in Alabama, and 70 to 80 tornadoes in Mississippi. In Arkansas, there were 21 tornadoes. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
In the picture: In 2020, there were numerous tornadoes across the southern United States through 04/17/2020. There were 40 to 50 tornadoes in Georgia and Texas, 50 to 60 tornadoes in Alabama, and 70 to 80 tornadoes in Mississippi. In Arkansas, there were 21 tornadoes. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
 

So far in 2020 (through April 17th), much of the Gulf Coast was battered by severe weather. There were lots of tornadoes, especially from Texas to Georgia. Unfortunately, the weather pattern was perfect for more tornadoes on the 19th.

 

Severe weather was likely south of a front along the Gulf Coast on 04/19/2020. This is where the atmosphere was the most warm and unstable (temperatures in the 70s/80s).
In the picture: Severe weather was likely south of a front along the Gulf Coast on 04/19/2020. This is where the atmosphere was the most warm and unstable (temperatures in the 70s/80s).
 

There was plenty of warmth and moisture in place, and a storm system in the southern Plains was ready to get things started. In Arkansas, it was cloudy and rainy, and this kept temperatures in the 50s and 60s. It was too cool/stable to make much happen.

 

Tornado and Flash Flood Watches were posted south of Arkansas at 1215 pm CDT on 04/19/2020.
In the picture: Tornado and Flash Flood Watches were posted south of Arkansas at 1215 pm CDT on 04/19/2020.
 

The writing was on the wall in the early afternoon, with severe weather and flash flood headlines posted to our south. By lunchtime, some storms were already severe in Texas and Louisiana, and areas of heavy rain in parts of Alabama were causing high water problems.

While we mostly escaped a bad situation locally, there were a few small hailstorms that managed to pop up in northwest Arkansas around 100 pm CDT. One storm produced up to half dollar size hail near Edna (Johnson County). The storms did not last long, and our event was over quickly.

 

Link of Interest
Video of Hail in Johnson County (courtesy of Becky Jensen via Twitter)

 

In the video: The satellite showed thunderstorms blowing up along the Gulf Coast on 04/19/2020. Storms struggled to get going in Arkansas where it was cooler.
 

While the episode down south turned out to be active, it was not nearly as busy as a week earlier. On the 12th (Easter), there were over 1200 reports of severe weather, including roughly 130 tornadoes from Texas to the Carolinas. More than a dozen of the tornadoes were rated EF3 or higher. This time, there were 300 to 400 reports, and less than 20 tornadoes.

 

In the video: There were scenes of destruction in southern Mississippi following a monster tornado (rated EF4) during the evening of 04/19/2020. The video is courtesy of Charles Peek via Twitter.
 

In southern Mississippi, one tornado (rated EF4) was particularly destructive during the evening of the 19th from Walthall County, MS to Perry County, MS. The tornado lasted 54 miles, and was responsible for one fatality. Homes, mobile homes, and businesses were damaged or destroyed, and numerous trees were uprooted or snapped.

 

Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 04/20/2020.
In the picture: Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 04/20/2020.
 

The storms to our south unleashed torrents of rain, with two to more than four inch amounts common. Some totals exceeded six inches from central Alabama into central Georgia. Here at time, most sites received a quarter to three quarters of an inch of precipitation, with locally up to an inch. There was even less liquid in parts of northern Arkansas.

 

It was colder than usual at 500 millibars (around 18,000 feet) at 700 am CDT on 04/20/2020. Temperatures ranged from -18C to -20C (0F to -4F) in northern Arkansas.
In the picture: It was colder than usual at 500 millibars (around 18,000 feet) at 700 am CDT on 04/20/2020. Temperatures ranged from -18C to -20C (0F to -4F) in northern Arkansas.
 

Once the aforementioned storm system exited to our southeast, a cold front followed from the north on the 20th. There was more sunshine, and this allowed temperatures to climb into the 70s in Arkansas. At the same time, it was cold aloft, and the environment became unsettled as it warmed downstairs and cooled upstairs.

 

The sounding (temperature and dewpoint profile with height) at Springfield, MO showed a setup for hail on 04/20/2020. In the lower levels of the atmosphere, it was warm/moist enough to get air parcels to rise to make clouds/storms. These saturated parcels were warmer than the sounding temperature, leading to ascent. The parcels reached the freezing level at only 8,000 feet (lower than usual), making it easy to create ice/hail farther aloft. Also, it was very dry above 10,000 feet, with any evaporation leading to cooling and more ice.
In the picture: The sounding (temperature and dewpoint profile with height) at Springfield, MO showed a setup for hail on 04/20/2020. In the lower levels of the atmosphere, it was warm/moist enough to get air parcels to rise to make clouds/storms. These saturated parcels were warmer than the sounding temperature, leading to ascent. The parcels reached the freezing level at only 8,000 feet (lower than usual), making it easy to create ice/hail farther aloft. Also, it was very dry above 10,000 feet, with any evaporation leading to cooling and more ice.
 

Ahead of the front, isolated thunderstorms popped up over southern Missouri in the late afternoon and early evening, and headed this way. The storms were loaded with ice when they arrived in areas north of Little Rock (Pulaski County).

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed high reflectivity (over 60 DBZ) well above the freezing level (around 8,000 feet) near Mammoth Spring (Fulton County) at 455 pm CDT on 04/20/2020. This suggested ice/hail was forming aloft. Winds also increased with height (speed shear), causing the storm to tilt in the vertical (the reflectivity core at 27,200 feet was well south of the core at 13,400 feet). This forced precipitation to fall downstream (and away) from updrafts feeding the storm (keeping it going), leading to a longer lived event.
In the picture: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed high reflectivity (over 60 DBZ) well above the freezing level (around 8,000 feet) near Mammoth Spring (Fulton County) at 455 pm CDT on 04/20/2020. This suggested ice/hail was forming aloft. Winds also increased with height (speed shear), causing the storm to tilt in the vertical (the reflectivity core at 27,200 feet was well south of the core at 13,400 feet). This forced precipitation to fall downstream (and away) from updrafts feeding the storm (keeping it going), leading to a longer lived event.
 

Around 500 pm CDT, a storm dumped a tremendous amount of mostly small hail at Mammoth Spring (Fulton County). Some stones were as large as a quarter. Temperatures quickly dropped from the lower 70s into the upper 40s.

 

In the video: Roads were covered with hail in Mammoth Spring (Fulton County) when a severe storm rolled through town around 500 pm CDT on 04/20/2020. The video is courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT).
 

Roads were covered with hail as if it had snowed. As hail melted, fog formed in the area and became dense. As the storm tracked to the southeast, it brought up to half dollar size hail and a 62 mph wind gust to College City (Lawrence County). A 54 mph wind gust was measured at Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County). Hail (up to quarter size) also blanketed roads at Rogers (Benton County).

 

Storm Reports
Preliminary reports of severe weather in the Little Rock County Warning Area on April 19-20, 2020 (in red).
Submit a storm report.
There were isolated reports of hail and strong thunderstorm gusts in northern Arkansas on April 19th and 20th. 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 19-20, 2020 (in red).