FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Today is a “Severe Weather Ready Alert Day!” Make sure you’re watching the weather closely and that you plus your family have MULTIPLE ways to get the latest severe weather warnings. I’ll discuss later the ways our weather team can keep you one step ahead of the storm.
According to the latest Storm Prediction Center (SPC) thunderstorm outlook, there’s a level 4 out of 5 MODERATE RISK for most of the River Valley and parts of NWA with a level 3 out of 5 ENHANCED RISK for the rest of the area.
SET UP: As of this morning, abundant sunshine exists due to a lack of storms and cloud debris across the area, which will lead to strong daytime heating. This surface heating combined with increasing moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and a strong upper-level system diving in from the Central Plains will bring cold temperatures aloft. This combination of weather conditions will bring strong instability across the area, which will lead to explosive thunderstorm development.
TIMING: Thunderstorms are expected to initially develop in south Kansas and northern Oklahoma around 4 p.m. as the cold front moves into this area. By 6 p.m., an intense line of thunderstorms with some embedded supercells will be in NE Oklahoma knocking on the doorstep of our weather coverage area.
Around 7 p.m., intense storms will be moving SE into NWA and they will pick up speed as this intense line of storms races to the SSE clearing the RV area by around 11 p.m. The timing window for the NWA/RV area will be from 6-11 p.m, BUT timing could change with later computer model information.
THREATS: There has been an increase in the tornado potential with the latest severe weather risk (updated at 8 a.m.) across the eastern OK and western AR area, which includes the River Valley. The main widespread threat will be damaging winds with gusts possibly exceeding 65 mph. Due to the strong instability and cold temperatures aloft, initial storm development and isolated supercells will contain large hail up to 2+ inches in diameter. Keep in mind that EF0 tornadic winds are estimated at 65-85 mph, so the widespread damaging wind potential could equal a weak tornado.
NOW is the time to review your severe weather safety procedures for the possibility of dangerous weather today. Watches and warnings will definitely be issued later today. Remember a “watch” means that conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms over the next several hours. A “warning” means that severe weather is imminent and occurring for your area and it’s time to move to a place of safety, ideally in an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building.
Sign up for Weathercall: https://www.nwahomepage.com/weather/weathercall/ This service will warn you ONLY if you are within the storm based polygon, which will cut down on the false alarms by warning only a site-specific location.
We’ll providing live streaming on our news and weather app AND also on Facebook Live. We’ll have plenty of updates on our app and social media, so keep it here with your Weather Authority Team for the latest severe weather coverage.