UPDATE: Powerful Storms Move Through Arkansas Causing Damage And Outages

Nov 17, 2015

Storm damage Tuesday in Hot Springs, where part of a roof was ripped from a building.
Credit KATV, Channel 7 News

A storm system moving through Arkansas Tuesday caused scattered damage throughout the state and cut electricity to many homes and businesses.

Here are the latest updates:

5:05 p.m.

Arkansas highway officials have reopened a major link between Little Rock and its northeastern suburbs.

U.S. 67-167 had been closed at Jacksonville for a time Tuesday afternoon because of high water. The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department says both northbound lanes had reopened and that one southbound lane had traffic moving again.

More than 2 inches of rain fell on most of central Arkansas as strong to severe storms moved through.

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4:50 p.m.

Strong storms moving through eastern Arkansas have prompted a number of warnings for winds up to 70 mph and hail up to three-quarters of an inch in diameter.

Emergency managers say damage was reported today at Hot Springs, near Perryville and north of Monticello, where the roof was blown off a house. Power was knocked out to more than 25,000 homes and businesses statewide.

Heavy rain has fallen across much of Arkansas, too, with totals approaching 3 hours near Damascus and 2 1/4 inches at North Little Rock. Local and state road crews said a number of streets and highways are flooded. Parts of eastern Arkansas are under a tornado watch until 9 p.m.

2:20 p.m.

Emergency officials are reporting damage near Perryville in central Arkansas after a line of strong storms moved through the area.

A local fire department told the National Weather Service says the roof on an outdoor stage at the Perry County Fairgrounds was torn off and blown about 40 yards away. Tree damage was also reported.

Forecasters issued a number of severe thunderstorm warnings across Arkansas on Tuesday, and after heavy rains fell forecasters warned about flash floods.

One tornado warning for the Perryville and Morrilton area was allowed to expire as a storm moved eastward. It wasn't known immediately whether a tornado touched down. The region was eventually dropped from a tornado watch that covered much of the state.

No injuries have been reported in Arkansas' latest bout of severe weather.

1 p.m.

Reports of property damage are emerging as powerful storms move through Arkansas.

The Storm Prediction Center says downed trees were reported in southwest Arkansas, including along Interstate 30 near Hope in Hempstead County. Damage was also reported to cabins on Lake Hamilton Drive in Garland County, where more than 11,000 Entergy customers were without power.

The Sentinel-Record newspaper reports that some buildings were damaged in Hot Springs because of the powerful winds, including City Hall.

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12:45 p.m.

Forecasters have issued a tornado warning for parts of central Arkansas.

The warning is for west central Faulkner County, northeastern Perry County and southeastern Conway County in central Arkansas. It expires at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Forecasters say a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located near Perryville at about 12:40 p.m. and was moving northeast at 35 mph.

The National Weather Service says radar images indicated rotation, which prompted the warning.

The area at risk includes Interstate 40 between mile markers 102 and 123.

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12:25 p.m.

More of Arkansas is now under a tornado watch.

The National Weather Service says the watch is in effect until 6 p.m. Tuesday for parts of central, eastern and southern Arkansas, including the Little Rock area. Forecasters say powerful storms will bring torrential rains, damaging winds, along with the potential for tornadoes. Flash flooding is expected.

By midday, some streets in Little Rock had standing water and the rain was expected to keep falling for hours. Entergy Arkansas reported nearly 15,000 power outages with most of them in Garland County.

A number of tornadoes were reported Monday in sparsely populated areas of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Forecasters said the greatest chance for a tornado Tuesday was in an area of 2.3 million people in Arkansas, Louisiana and western Mississippi.

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10:55 a.m.

Entergy Arkansas says more than 6,000 of its customers are without electricity because of stormy weather.

The utility says more than 2,700 of the outages are in Garland County, while more than 1,200 are in Stone County. The other outages are scattered throughout the state as thunderstorms and high winds move through Arkansas.

Every county in Arkansas is covered by some sort of watch or warning from the National Weather Service, with torrential rains, high winds and tornadoes in the forecast on Tuesday.

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10:40 a.m.

A tornado watch has been expanded for counties in southwest Arkansas.

The National Weather Service says the watch is in effect until 4 p.m. Tuesday for Columbia, Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada, Sevier and Union counties.

The Storm Prediction Center says thunderstorms are expected to intensify throughout the day, leading to the potential for severe weather in the afternoon. Forecasters say the area could see tornadoes and isolated wind gusts of more than 70 mph.

Much of central and eastern Arkansas is at an enhanced risk for severe weather on Tuesday, including the Little Rock, Conway and Pine Bluff areas. A flash flood watch remains in effect for all of Arkansas.

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6:40 a.m.

A tornado watch has been issued for four counties in southwest Arkansas as a storm system carrying heavy rainfall heads toward the state.

The watch is in effect for Howard, Little River, Miller and Sevier counties from 4:45 a.m. Tuesday until 9 a.m.

The National Weather Service says a line of strong thunderstorms over central Texas will spread eastward throughout the morning hours. Forecasters say isolated tornadoes are possible along with damaging wind gusts.

All of Arkansas is under a flash flood watch as well. Forecasters are predicting "torrential downpours" as the storm system moves across the state. Forecasters say severe storms are most likely Tuesday over parts of central and south Arkansas.