FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A few severe thunderstorms, mainly capable of producing damaging winds and large hail, will be possible Thursday afternoon and evening across portions of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley. There is also a low chance of a tornado or two in far southern portions of the area.
The SPC (Storm Prediction Center) has a Slight Risk of severe weather over much of the I-40 corridor, including Le Flore (OK) and Sequoyah (OK) counties. These locations all will have the highest potential to see large hail and damaging winds, with a low end tornado threat located over Scott, Le Flore (OK) and southern Sebastian counties. The rest of the KNWA/FOX24 coverage area is under a Marginal Risk of severe weather Thursday, where less intense thunderstorms capable of hail and strong winds will be possible.
Showers and a few rumbles of thunder will be possible starting early Thursday morning. While a few small hailstones may fall with these initial storms, severe weather is not anticipated during the morning hours. These storms could also sap any instability that may be in place, especially in portions of Northwest Arkansas.
After these showers push through the area, a break in the activity will likely follow throughout the early afternoon hours. Peaks of sunshine could be seen, especially south of the Bobby Hopper Tunnel, which may allow for some instability to return to the River Valley. Eventually, more storms will fire off west of our area around 3 P.M., and it is these storms that have the chance to become severe. The latest model trends show semi-discrete storms beginning in Northwest Arkansas, and then overspreading the River Valley during the late-afternoon/early evening. These storms will quickly grown into multiple clusters/line segments, which would prompt mainly a heavy rain and damaging wind threat. The most likely time-frame for severe weather will be between 4 P.M. – 10 P.M. In terms of tornado potential, the semi-discrete cells that form with the initial convection will have the best chance to tap into the environment (around 4 P.M. – 6 P.M.), but this is highly conditional on having enough instability in place. With that being said, the overall tornado risk will be low.
As the cold front pushes through the area, much colder air will filter in. There is the potential for a few snowflakes to fly early Friday morning, but little to no impacts are expected. Bundle up for the weekend, as blustery and very cold conditions will continue over the weekend!
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