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Are you interested in what happened during a recent event? Check out the report below.
 
Severe Storms on April 28-29, 2020
 
Equivalent potential temperatures (measured in degrees Kelvin), or Theta-E values, tend to be highest where the atmosphere is destabilizing the most (where heat/moisture advection is maximized). That was the case in eastern Texas, southeast Oklahoma, and southwest Arkansas during the afternoon of 04/28/2020. Storms were driven toward this area by 50 to 100 knot winds at 500 millibars (roughly 18,000 feet) to the south/west of a storm system ("L") approaching from Iowa. Rapid storm movement often increases the likelihood of wind damage. The graphics are courtesy of the College of DuPage. 
In the pictures: Equivalent potential temperatures (measured in degrees Kelvin), or Theta-E values, tend to be highest where the atmosphere is destabilizing the most (where heat/moisture advection is maximized). That was the case in eastern Texas, southeast Oklahoma, and southwest Arkansas during the afternoon of 04/28/2020. Storms were driven toward this area by 50 to 100 knot winds at 500 millibars (roughly 18,000 feet) to the south/west of a storm system ("L") approaching from Iowa. Rapid storm movement often increases the likelihood of wind damage. The graphics are courtesy of the College of DuPage.
 

It turned into summer in west Texas during the final days of April. On the 28th, it was 105 degrees in San Angelo, TX, with 90s common in the Lone Star State west of Dallas, TX. Meanwhile, readings were a little more seasonal in Arkansas, with thermometers showing 70s to around 80 degrees. To the north, a powerful storm system was headed this way from Iowa. A line of thunderstorms was expected ahead of the system. Strong to damaging winds were the main concern.

 

It was hot to the southwest of Arkansas around 400 pm CDT on 04/28/2020. Temperatures were in the 90s to around 102 degrees in west Texas. Meanwhile, it was mild locally, with readings in the 70s to around 80 degrees. 
In the picture: It was hot to the southwest of Arkansas around 400 pm CDT on 04/28/2020. Temperatures were in the 90s to around 102 degrees in west Texas. Meanwhile, it was mild locally, with readings in the 70s to around 80 degrees.
 

Impacts from the storms were thought to be greatest between the hot air to the west and the not-so-hot conditions around here. A lot of times, low level moisture (from the Gulf of Mexico) finds its way between these air masses, and is the road to follow ("sweet spot") for severe storms.

 

Damaging winds were most likely in eastern Oklahoma, western Arkansas, and northeast Texas in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 04/29/2020. The forecast is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center. 
In the picture: Damaging winds were most likely in eastern Oklahoma, western Arkansas, and northeast Texas in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 04/29/2020. The forecast is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
 

In this case, much of central/eastern Oklahoma, western Arkansas, and northeast Texas were in the crosshairs. Here at home, it appeared that storms would surge into northwest sections of the state by 700 pm to 800 pm CDT, and exit the region to the southeast six to eight hours later. For the most part, the forecast panned out.

 

In the video: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a line of strong to severe thunderstorms with bowing (backward C-shaped) segments sweeping through Arkansas toward the Gulf Coast in the twelve hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 04/29/2020.
 

Trees were downed (on homes and cars in a few cases) at numerous locations including Arkadelphia (Clark County), Atkins (Pope County), Barling (Sebastian County), Benton (Saline County), Clarendon (Monroe County), Jasper (Newton County), between Horatio and Lockesburg (both in Sevier County), Jonesboro (Craighead County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Murfreesboro (Pike County), Perryville (Perry County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Russellville (Pope County), Smackover (Union County), Star City (Lincoln County), and Winslow (Washington County). At least 30,000 power outages were reported.

 

In the video: The satellite loop showed thunderstorms developing rapidly to the northwest of Arkansas, and then plowing through the state during the late afternoon and evening of 04/28/2020 and the predawn hours the next morning. The video is courtesy of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere/Colorado State University via Twitter.
 

There was a 67 mph wind gust measured at Fargo (Monroe County). Other gusts (estimated or measured) included 65 mph at Cabot (Lonoke County), 60 mph at Bono (Craighead County), Paris (Logan County), and Stamps (Lafayette County), 59 mph at Batesville (Independence County), 55 mph at Conway (Faulkner County) and Clinton (Van Buren County), 53 mph at the Stuttgart Airport in Fairmount (Prairie County), 52 mph at the Little Rock Air Force Base (Pulaski County) and Mena (Polk County), 51 mph at Carlisle (Lonoke County), and 50 mph at Little Rock National Airport (Pulaski County).

While this sounds devastating, it did not compare to the wallop experienced two weeks prior to this event (on April 12th/Easter). On that day, storms in southern Arkansas had an average forward speed roughly 10 to 20 mph faster than this latest episode (50 to 60 mph versus closer to 40 mph). The added forward momentum ramped up the wind damage potential, and led to an astonishing 150,000 power outages!

In addition to the wind, there was some large hail. Ping pong ball size stones were noted at Center Hill (White County) and Center Point (Howard County), with quarters at De Queen (Sevier County).

 

Storm reports in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 04/29/2020. Strong to damaging winds were common from southwest Missouri into northern, western, and central Arkansas, with a lot of hail from eastern Oklahoma into northeast Texas.
In the picture: Storm reports in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 04/29/2020. Strong to damaging winds were common from southwest Missouri into northern, western, and central Arkansas, with a lot of hail from eastern Oklahoma into northeast Texas.
 

There were quite a few instances of golf ball to baseball size stones in central/eastern Oklahoma and northeast Texas, and almost softballs (3.75 inches in diameter) near Chickasha, OK. Two tornadoes (rated EF1/EF2) were spawned north and east of Hochatown, OK. A home sustained significant roof and structural damage when it was hit by flying large gas tanks. Roofs were ripped up on chicken houses and a barn. A mobile home was destroyed, and uprooted and snapped trees fell on recreational vehicles. One of the tornadoes tracked twenty miles into southwest Arkansas, and dissipated six miles northwest of Lockesburg (Sevier County).

Overall, tornadoes were hard to come by. While several storms showed signs of rotation, and Tornado Warnings were issued, nothing materialized in most cases.

 

 

In the picture: In 2020 (through April), severe weather warnings were most numerous from the southern Plains to the southeast United States. The graphic is courtesy of the Iowa Environmental Mesonet (IEM) through the National Weather Service in Wichita, KS via Twitter.
 

Interestingly, while activity picked up in the southern Plains to end April (the southeast states were hammered earlier in the month), there was not enough northward expansion for any tornadoes in Kansas. It was just as quiet from January to March of 2020, with a goose egg through April for only the fourth time on record (1962, 1967, 1980, and 2018). Go back two years, and Oklahoma started 2018 with a tornado drought through the first four months. That had never happened before in the state.

 

Twenty four hours rainfall through 700 am CDT on 04/29/2020. 
In the picture: Twenty four hours rainfall through 700 am CDT on 04/29/2020.
 

Getting back to the story, parts of Louisiana and extreme eastern Texas were pounded with two to more than four inches of rain in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on the 29th. In Arkansas, amounts from a half inch to an inch and a half were common, with locally over two inches. At Mount Ida (Montgomery County), 2.36 inches of precipitation was measured, with 2.29 inches at Cove (Polk County), and 1.91 inches near Parks (Scott County).

 

Tributaries in southern and eastern Arkansas remained elevated on 04/29/2020. This included the Black, Cache, Ouachita, and lower White Rivers. 
In the table: Tributaries in southern and eastern Arkansas remained elevated on 04/29/2020. This included the Black, Cache, Ouachita, and lower White Rivers.
 

The rain was not enough to cause any big surges along tributaries that were already running high. This included the Black, Cache, Ouachita, and lower White Rivers. Minor flooding continued, which had been the case much of the month.

 

In the video: A storm system aloft rotated its way southeastward from Missouri on 04/29/2020. Clouds wrapping around the system built into northern Arkansas. Meanwhile, storms that hit the area overnight exited into the Gulf of Mexico.
 

After daybreak on the 29th, the storms were well to the south. While there was sunshine to begin the day, clouds increased from the north as moisture wrapped around the aforementioned system in Iowa (that had relocated to Missouri). Winds were west to northwest at 10 to 20 mph, with gusts over 30 mph at times.

 

Storm Reports
Preliminary reports of severe weather in the Little Rock County Warning Area on April 28-29, 2020 (in red).
Submit a storm report.
There were numerous reports of wind gusts over 50 mph, damaging winds, and some large hail on April 28th/early on the 29th. 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 28-29, 2020 (in red).