LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- NOON UPDATE– Due to a complex of thunderstorms moving through areas of northwest Arkansas still posing a severe threat with the wind being the main concern, the National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch until 7 PM for much of Central Arkansas.
This time of year, it is not uncommon to see an MCS (Mesoscale Convective System) move into Arkansas. That technical term is a fancy way of saying a large thunderstorm complex.
Under the right conditions, these complexes can travel long distances and last for several hours and be accompanied by strong winds, hail and heavy rainfall.
Today, Arkansas will be under northwesterly wind flow aloft. This type of upper-level wind direction during the summer can help steer these thunderstorm clusters towards and into the state. We have that occurring today.
As this complex continues to move through the state, it will begin weakening but it could still pose mainly a wind threat where gusts could reach 60 mph. Additional thunderstorms will develop ahead of this cluster as well. They could pose a brief wind gust threat of mainly 40 to 50 mph.
On the lower end of the threat spectrum, hail up to 1″ in diameter may be possible and localized flash flooding if storms are slow to leave the area. Of course, lightning will be likely.
If you are trying to find a silver lining to this storm threat, this storm complex will help temperatures struggle to reach the lower 90s in many places today. A lower temperature also means the heat index will be much lower as well.
Timing-wise, we will likely deal with this thunderstorm cluster across the northwest quarter of the state through the early afternoon. As we reach about 2 pm, this large thunderstorm complex should begin to move into central areas of the state and hanging around through 5 pm. While this is the timing for the main cluster, isolated thunderstorms are expected to develop out ahead of it throughout the day.
Afterward, whatever is left will shift into southeast Arkansas where is should fade out and/or move into Mississippi before 8 pm.
Check back to this article for updates today. For the latest in-depth forecast, you can watch it HERE.