9 PM Update– As of 9 PM, the tornado watch that covered areas of southwest Arkansas has been allowed to expire. The atmosphere continues to become less favorable for spin-ups as we move more into the nighttime hours but rainfall, heavy at times, will still be possible.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – 5 PM Update– Strong wind gusts and localized flash flooding are the main concerns but a brief spin-up lasting a few minutes cannot be ruled out. That is why a tornado watch has been issued for sections of southwest Arkansas until 9 PM.
Why is there a tornado threat? – That is a good question. While most of the ingredients needed for this to occur will be very weak, there is one factor that could compensate for that lack and it is the mid-level low that will be moving over the state later today. You will see in the forecast track animation below that this low is compact and that along with the counter-clockwise rotation will help produce spin in the atmosphere.
Any spin-up that can occur would be very brief, lasting only a few minutes, and will likely be very weak. That is good news but these types of situations are very hard to warn for because the circulation can happen between radar scans. It spins up and out before it is detected.
The Arkansas Storm Team will be watching activity over Arkansas very carefully today. Make sure to check back for updates here, or on our social media pages as well.
This mid-level low and a cold front that will be sweeping through the state tomorrow will be the last of the rainmakers for several days. Drier weather is expected to take over for all of next week. Before we get to Monday though, we could still see an additional 1 to 2 inches of rainfall through Sunday evening.
With areas in southwest Arkansas already seeing a lot of rain Friday night, what falls today could pose a flash flood risk. For that reason, a flash flood is in effect until 7 AM, Sunday for areas of southwest Arkansas.