At least two rounds of severe weather are expected to move through Arkansas between Wednesday afternoon and late Thursday night.
While Thursday’s round is expected to be much stronger than Wednesday’s, we should treat both very seriously as they all bring some potential for damaging wind, hail and tornadoes.
ROUND 1: WEDNESDAY
Our first round of storms will come Wednesday afternoon, likely starting after 3 p.m. These should develop over western and southwest Arkansas, then intensify as they spread east during the evening.
By midnight, most of these storms should be out or moving out of the area. Still, some showers may still linger through Thursday morning. See the slideshow below for a better look at Wednesday’s timing.
Damaging wind and hail will be the main risks out of Wednesday’s storms. But a brief, isolated tornado cannot be ruled out, especially across southern Arkansas.
In addition to severe storm threats, flooding will also be a concern Wednesday and Thursday. Little Rock could pick up ½” – 1″ of rain Wednesday with higher amounts added Thursday. Flood prone areas like Argenta, Downtown and surrounding construction along interstates, could see some flash flooding during the rush hour Wednesday. The flood risk will increase Thursday night as additional heavy rainfall associated with more storms roll through.
All in all, much of central and north Arkansas could see around 2-4″ of rain. Our ground can only absorb so much more rain after an already rainy January ending 4.57″ above average and a wet February, ending 3.65″ above average.
ROUND 2: THURSDAY
Thursday’s storms will likely pose an even greater risk. To make matters a bit more concerning, these more dangerous storms may also linger into the early overnight hours Thursday into Friday.
During the morning, some scattered light to moderate showers will be possible. Then into the afternoon, a few isolated storms could be possible. But later in the evening, a much more potent and more organized round of storms will move through.
With this greater risk on Thursday night comes a much greater risk for tornadoes. Strong, long-track tornadoes will be possible with some of these storms during the evening. In addition to that, we could see damaging wind in excess of 80 mph as well as large hail up to baseball size.
With an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain expected on top of what we receive Wednesday, our flash flood risk looks greater as well.
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