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Severe Storms/Turning Cooler on May 21-22, 2022
 
The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a bow echo (backward C-shaped line of storms) producing strong to damaging winds in northeast Arkansas at 712 pm CDT on 05/21/2022. Storms were concentrated across the the northern counties during the afternoon and early evening, and in central and southern sections of the state after dark.
Radar Loop (Video)
In the picture/video: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a bow echo (backward C-shaped line of storms) producing strong to damaging winds in northeast Arkansas at 712 pm CDT on 05/21/2022. Storms were concentrated across the the northern counties during the afternoon and early evening, and in central and southern sections of the state after dark.
 

A cold front was knocking on our door to the northwest on May 21st. It was toasty ahead of the front (except in parts of the Ozark Mountains), with high temperatures mostly in the mid 80s to lower 90s. Thunderstorms were expected ahead of the front during the afternoon and evening.

Scattered strong to severe thunderstorms popped up in northwest Arkansas between 200 pm and 300 pm CDT. A weak tornado was spawned near Mossville (Newton County). Farther east, storms formed into a line and produced damaging winds in places. Trees fell on a home and vehicle at Franklin (Izard County). Trees and power poles were downed at Ash Flat (Sharp County), with more trees on houses. Outbuildings and barns were also damaged. A 67 mph gust was measured locally. Multiple trees were toppled at Ravenden (Lawrence County), Pocahontas (Randolph County), Corning (Clay County), and Blytheville (Mississippi County). A roof was torn off a building near Lafe (Greene County). There was half dollar size hail at Southside (Independence County), and quarter size stones at Clinton (Van Buren County) and Marked Tree (Poinsett County).

 

Outside of Arkansas

On May 20th, a monster tornado (rated EF3/150 mph winds) ripped through Gaylord, MI. A mobile home park was obliterated, and two people were killed. There were more than forty injuries. It was the first deadly tornado across Michigan in a dozen years, and the strongest tornado in the state in ten years. A day later, a derecho (long-lived damaging straight-line wind event) pummeled areas from Toronto to Quebec City (a 500+ mile swath) with 60 to 90 mph gusts. There were nine fatalities, mainly due to fallen trees. Nearly a million power outages were counted. About thirty miles northeast of Santa Fe, NM, two fires that merged in late April (into the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire) had torched almost 310,000 acres and close to 650 structures. It was the largest and most destructive wildfire in New Mexico recorded history.

 

There was a lot of lightning with thunderstorms on 05/21/2022. Before dark, most lightning was in northern Arkansas. After sunset, the lightning show shifted into central/southwest sections of the state, and cloud to ground return strokes (positive and negative) increased markedly.
In the picture: There was a lot of lightning with thunderstorms on 05/21/2022. Before dark, most lightning was in northern Arkansas. After sunset, the lightning show shifted into central/southwest sections of the state, and cloud to ground return strokes (positive and negative) increased markedly.
 

As storms progressed into central sections of the state toward sunset, there was quite a lightning show. Cloud to ground lightning strokes topped 20,000 per hour between 800 pm and 1000 pm CDT. Trees were blown down near Martinville (Faulkner County), south of Vilonia (Faulkner County), along Highway 319 close to Ward (Lonoke County), on Interstate 430 roughly two to three miles north of Mabelvale (Pulaski County), and on Highway 425 at Ladd (Jefferson County). A 54 mph gust occurred at Little Rock National Airport (Pulaski County). Quarter size hail was reported at Redfield (Jefferson County). Video via social media showed a low hanging wall cloud and a thin funnel cloud trying to skirt the ground around Royal (Garland County). This was declared a brief and weak tornado.

 

 

Lightning was intense across the southwest counties, and strong to damaging winds continued. Downed trees blocked Highway 369 northeast of Center Point (Howard County), Highway 82 near Stamps (Lafayette County), and Highway 29 south of Lewisville (Lafayette County). At the Texarkana Regional Airport (Miller County), a 68 mph wind gust was recorded.

 

Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 05/22/2022.
In the picture: Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 05/22/2022.
 

More than three inches of rain dumped in places from southwest through central and northeast Arkansas. Antoine (Pike County) received 3.36 of rain in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on the 22nd. Fordyce (Dallas County) had 3.30 inches, with 3.00 inches at Marche (Pulaski County), 2.85 inches at El Dorado (Union County) and Nashville (Howard County), 2.80 inches at West Memphis (Crittenden County), 2.75 inches at DeGray Lake State Park (Clark/Hot Spring Counties), and 2.74 inches at  Keo (Lonoke County).

 

There was a large temperature contrast across Arkansas at 1000 pm CST on 05/21/2022. Readings ranged from the mid 50s in the north to the lower 80s in the south.
In the picture: There was a large temperature contrast across Arkansas at 1000 pm CST on 05/21/2022. Readings ranged from the mid 50s in the north to the lower 80s in the south.
 

It rurned much cooler behind the aftermentioned front. By 1000 pm CDT on the 21st, temperatures were in the 50s in portions of northern Arkansas. The thermometer showed 54 degrees at Harrison (Boone County), and 56 degrees at Fayetteville (Washington County) and Mountain Home (Baxter County).

 

In the social media post: High temperatures at Harrison (Boone County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County) were 15 to 20 degrees below average on 05/22/2022. The 59 degree reading at Harrison (Boone County) was a record cool high for the date, and was a degree cooler than the previous record set in 1979.
 

On the 22nd, high temperatures were only in the upper 50s to upper 60s in much of the state, and in the lower 70s in the southeast. Normal highs are in the upper 70s to mid 80s. At Harrison (Boone County), a maximum of 59 degrees was the coolest high for the date (breaking the previous record of 60 degrees in 1979). The mercury reached 67 degrees at Little Rock (Pulaski County), which was two degrees from tying a cool daily high locally (65 degrees in 1963).

 

Storm Reports
Preliminary reports of severe weather in the Little Rock County Warning Area on May 21, 2022 (in red).
Submit a storm report.
There were several reports of damaging winds, hail, and lightning on May 21st. 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 May 21, 2022 (in red).