UPDATE: (4:30 P.M. Thursday)
Current Severe Weather Watches
Latest Severe Weather Risk
The latest Storm Prediction Center risks keeps the entire region in a level 3/5 risk (enhanced).
The main threat with this evening’s storms will be damaging wind gusts over 70 MPH. Large hail up to 2-inches in diameter is possible. A tornado or two cannot be ruled out as the line of storms passes through.
Flash flooding is a concern, especially for areas that received rain earlier this afternoon. The Weather Prediction Center has a level 3/4 (moderate) risk for flash flooding across parts of NW Arkansas, SW Missouri, and NE Oklahoma. Everyone outside this risk is under a level 2/4 (slight) for scattered flash floods.
UPDATE: (12:30 P.M. Thursday) Severe weather is still expected across NW Arkansas and the River Valley this afternoon and evening.
Current Severe Weather Watches
Latest Forecast Information
The latest severe weather risk from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) keeps NW Arkansas and the River Valley at an enhanced (level 3/5) risk for severe storms.
All threats remain on the table as two main rounds of storms push through the area.
The first round (now until about 4 P.M.) could produce locally heavy rain and some hail. Round 2 will move in around 6PM and continue until around midnight. The greatest threat will be damaging straight-line winds with wind gusts over 75 MPH possible. Large hail up to the size of limes (2″ in diameter) will be possible and a few tornadoes along the line cannot be ruled out either.
UPDATE: (8 A.M. Thursday) Severe thunderstorms are expected to develop this afternoon and especially this evening over the viewing area. The new information is showing that thunderstorm development will happen earlier than what we thought just last night.
We could see thunderstorms begin to develop around Noon or 1 P.M. today. Those storms would produce heavy downpours and some small hail. Later this afternoon, more thunderstorms will form over southern Missouri and northern Oklahoma. Those will pose a large hail threat at first and some tornado threats.
As thunderstorms start to line up, wind damage with those storms become most likely. Those storms will settle south across the entire area through the evening. Here is the latest model look at early storm development and how it may look late this afternoon:
Here is the latest Severe Weather Outlook from the Storms Prediction Center:
All of our region is under the Enhanced Risk for severe thunderstorms. Strong gusty thunderstorm wind is the highest threat. Large hail is possible especially with early storms this afternoon and a weaker tornado threat is there if storms can interact with older thunderstorm cool air boundaries.
It’s always good to prepare ahead of the storm. Make sure your garbage containers are protected from wind. For you parents who have a trampoline in your yard, anchor it to the ground. You can get some good trampoline anchors from the big-box hardware stores. 🙂
We will monitor this developing event through the day and send out updates here and on the NWA Weather Authority App.
Ingredients are starting to gather for a nasty night of severe weather across the viewing area Thursday night. Here is what we know so far.
An upper-level system currently located over the western United States will track eastward across the northern Great Plains as we head through the rest of the week. At the surface, a cold front will move into our region overnight Thursday (May 27) into early Friday (May 28) morning. Storms could form ahead of the front in the early afternoon hours. Storms will then once again be likely along the cold front as it passes through late Thursday evening.
Severe Weather Set-Up
Modest thunderstorm fuel and turning of winds will be present allowing for storms to organize. Any discrete cells that form ahead of the line will likely be supercells. As the evening progresses, the supercells look to join together into a broken line of thunderstorms. By the time the storms reach our viewing area, the greatest threat will likely be straight-line damaging winds.
Atmospheric profiles support this development, with a decent amount of dry air in the mid-levels that can be brought down in the storm’s downdrafts. This drier air is much denser and can be very forceful as it strikes the ground and spreads out.
Learn more about the science behind these types of storms here:
Current Storm Prediction Center Outlook
All of Northwest Arkansas is under a level 3/5, with Sequoyah, Crawford, and northern portions of Franklin and Johnson counties also under a 3/5. The rest of our viewing area in the River Valley is under a level 2/5.
Threats From This Storm System
The greatest threat from this severe weather event will be damaging wind. ALL of Benton Co is under an area of significant damaging wind. This means that wind gusts could exceed 75 mph in some places. Isolated tornadoes and some large hail up to 2″ in diameter are also possible. With all of the rain that has already fallen, trees will come down fairly easily. Widespread power outages and several instances of flash flooding are possible.
Current Timing for Severe Weather
The timing of the greatest threat for severe weather looks to be from 12 PM CDT on Thursday, May 27 thru 2 AM CDT on Friday, May 28. The latest data is showing that we will see two rounds of storms. One occurs early afternoon after 12 PM CDT Thursday and the second round moves after 10 PM CDT on Thursday night.
Details are subject to change due to the nature of these kind of events. Storms like these are driven by chain reactions. If the model does not accurately predict where the first storm complex forms, then the entire model run will be off. This makes tomorrows event a low confidence forecast on timing.
With this being the case, make sure to stay weather aware throughout the entire day tomorrow and we will keep you updated on the latest.
Have at Least 3 Ways to Receive Warnings!
The National Weather Service and your Weather Authority recommend having at least 3 different ways to receive watches and warnings. Choose at least 3 of the avenues listed above. It is always good to own a weather radio in case the cell towers are taken out of commission by storms.
Keep it with your Weather Authority Team for the latest on this impending severe weather event by downloading our FREE NWA Weather Authority App and follow us on social media.
We will keep you updated on the latest on-air, online, and on mobile! Stay safe out there.