Arkansas Weather

Vilonia tornado president Obama
Tamara Keith / NPR News

The central Arkansas city of Vilonia is set to open its first above-ground storm shelter later this month, two years after a deadly tornado swept through the town.

KTHV-TV reports that the city was granted $28,000 to put toward the construction of a safe room in the aftermath of the 2014 tornado.

El Dorado Church Fire
KATV, Channel 7 News

Emergency officials say storms rumbling across Arkansas are responsible for a handful of fires in the southern part of the state.

Bobby Braswell, the director of the Union County Emergency Management Service, says an oil-processing tank caught on fire Monday. Fire officials don't know whether lightning or a buildup of static electricity triggered the fire in a storage tank that had a bit of oil left inside. The fire was extinguished Monday afternoon.

Arkansas State Police say a Florida man died in a five-vehicle collision during a dust storm near Walnut Ridge.

Forecasters had issued a dust storm warning for parts of northeastern Arkansas because of 35 mph winds that gusted at times to 50 mph. The Jonesboro Sun reported that Sunday's dust storm contributed to vehicle accidents throughout the region.

State police identified the man killed as 50-year-old Benjamin Brantley of Brookville, Florida. A police report said the crash occurred during "near-zero visibility."

The National Weather Service says a tornado touched down earlier this week in Dermott, about 115 miles southeast of Little Rock near the Mississippi border.

Meteorologist Anna Wolverton at the weather service's office in Jackson, Mississippi, says a survey team has confirmed that an EF1 tornado touched down in or near Dermott on Wednesday night when heavy rain and storms passed through Arkansas. Wolverton says the survey team was on its way back from Dermott late Friday and would provide more information about the duration and size of the tornado.

National Weather Service

Heavy rainfall and severe storms with hail and damaging winds are possible throughout Arkansas on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service says periods of showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop in the morning and spread across the state ahead of a cold front.

Forecasters said Tuesday that there's a slight risk of severe storms, with hail and damaging winds the primary threats, but tornadoes can't be ruled out.

Up to 3 inches of rainfall is expected in the southeast part of the state, with higher amounts in the Delta.

National Weather Service

Forecasters say severe storms could bring flash flooding, large hail and tornadoes to parts of the deep South.

The national Storm Prediction Center says more than 40 million people in several states - including Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi - will be at risk for severe storms Wednesday.

In Mississippi, forecasters say 3-4 inches of rain will be likely in storms Wednesday into Thursday, which could lead to flash flooding.

National Weather Service

Another storm system is expected to reach Arkansas late Wednesday, with the potential for producing showers, 60 mile-per-hour winds, and hail that may measure up to an inch in diameter.

Isolated thunderstorms have been forecast for the Little Rock area, but the highest concentration of activity is expected to be in the western part of the state.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Willie Gilmore says the weather is typical of early spring, but damaging activity is possible.

National Weather Service

The Storm Prediction Center says parts of Arkansas are at a slight risk for severe weather on Wednesday.

Forecasters say western and central Arkansas could see strong winds, large hail and isolated tornadoes on Wednesday afternoon and evening. The Storm Prediction Center says "a tornado or two" could be possible, but the overall risk for twisters is low.

The area considered at slight risk for the severe weather stretches from Dallas to Springfield, Missouri, including all of western Arkansas.

Parts of Arkansas will be under a freeze watch this weekend as much cooler temperatures move into the state.

The watch is in effect from late Saturday night through Sunday morning for northern and western Arkansas. Forecasters say the area covered is west of Murfreesboro, Hot Springs, Conway and Hardy. Temperatures are expected at or below freezing by sunrise Sunday morning.

Daytime high temperatures should be in the 50s throughout the weekend.

Forecasters say isolated thunderstorms are also possible in Arkansas on Friday, but severe weather isn't expected.

Arkansas counties with disaster declarations.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Three more Arkansas counties have been declared disaster areas by Governor Asa Hutchinson. The addition of Columbia, Prairie, and Scott counties brings the total to 16.

The declarations follow flooding and heavy rainfall that inundated the state last week, with most of the damage in the southeast. The governor's office says additional counties may still be added as damage assessments continue.

The state is forecast to be relatively rain free for the next several days with a slight chance of rainfall re-emerging early Saturday.

Pages