Arkansas Weather

Pinnacle Mountain State Park
File Photo

A greater than average amount of rainfall in Arkansas has led to flash flooding and other hazards in the state. It also could lead to potentially risky hiking conditions in state parks.

Pine Bluff tornado
Bill Wingand / KATV-TV

Forecasters have confirmed a small tornado touched down in central Arkansas, damaging two apartment complexes and injuring four people.

The National Weather Service said a twister with winds between 86 and 110 mph lasted for less than a minute Wednesday evening when it hit Pine Bluff.

Meteorologist Thomas Jones says the tornado was about 100 yards wide and traveled for only about a quarter of a mile, but still managed to damage the brick facing and roof of the apartments. Jones says at least two walls caved in.

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Arkansas is expected to get a break from an unusually wet winter, but it may not be enough of a break for farmers.

Some Arkansas counties have received two to three times their average amount of rainfall over the last six months. The frequent and heavy rains have made it difficult for many farmers to work their land. Rice Agronomist Jarrod Hardke with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service says the return of cold weather could offset any relief from the rain.

National Weather Service

Heavy rains are predicted throughout the week for much of Arkansas. According to the National Weather Service, the eastern part of the state could see as much as 8 inches of total accumulation over the next several days.

"What this is likely to cause is prolonged issues with the rivers," said Brian Smith, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service. "We are expecting continued river flooding, especially along the White River, the Black River basin, as well as the Cache River. We could see some flash flooding issues in places as well."

National Weather Service

Another blast of cold air is expected to enter Arkansas Monday. Meteorologist Chuck Rickard with the National Weather Service says temperatures will drop well below freezing, with snow and ice expected in part of the state.

"Parts of southeast Arkansas could see some light snow. It could change over later on tonight once that cold air moves in, but we are not really looking for much in the way of snippy accumulation," Rickard said Monday.

National Weather Service

A weather system the National Weather Service is calling “complicated” will arrive in Arkansas beginning Friday. Arkansans across the state will experience a system that will bring heavy rains for some, and significant snow accumulation for others.

The National Weather Service says widespread precipitation will “overspread” throughout the state in a south to north pattern. As the cold air moves, rain will change to sleet and freezing rain before ultimately changing to snow. The greatest likelihood for accumulations is Friday night through Saturday morning.

thunderstorm
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A strong storm system will sweep through Arkansas Friday through Saturday morning. Southwest and west central Arkansas are the two areas expected to get the worst of it. The storms could possibly bring hail and tornadoes, though strong winds are more likely to occur.

The weather has already postponed high school championship and playoff football games. According to the Arkansas Activities Association, the championship game between Little Rock Christian and Pulaski Academy will take place on Sunday at War Memorial Stadium.

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a freeze watch for most of Arkansas from Friday night through Saturday morning. Temperatures are forecast to drop as low as the mid or lower 20s. Areas as far south as Camden are expected to be impacted.

Warning Coordination Meteorologist Dennis Cavanaugh says the watch is not a prediction of what this year’s winter will be like.

One hundred utility workers and contractors from Arkansas hit the road Tuesday for the East Coast to help out the states expected to be hit hard by Hurricane Florence.

“A lot of the crew, a lot of the linemen, like going to these storm assignments.  They enjoy the work,” said Kerri Case, a spokesperson for Entergy Arkansas.

She said the Arkansas crew will work on resetting poles, picking up lines that may have blown down and making any general repairs to help restore power as quickly as possible.

National Weather Service

Late summer usually means hot, dry weather in Arkansas, but according to National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Cook, predictions for the middle of  this month include highs in the 80s and the poential for heavy rain, "which is a little bit unusual." While rainfall is helping the state avoid wildfires, it's a mixed bag for agriculture industry.

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