Tornadoes in Arkansas - The Largest Outbreak in Nearly Two Years

March 9, 2023

tornadoes in Arkansas

In recent years, tornadoes have become more common in Arkansas and other southeastern states. This is partly due to climate change, researchers say.

Tornadoes can be devastating, even deadly. But there are things you can do to increase your chances of survival if a tornado hits your area. One of those is to bolster the integrity of your home by making changes such as adding steel supports in walls.

Weather Conditions

Tornadoes, violent whirlwinds originating from a thunderstorm that travel for long distances and can reach wind speeds of 200 miles per hour or more, occur much more often in the United States than anywhere else on Earth. They are especially common in areas known as Tornado Alley.

Arkansas has been impacted by tornadoes many times in its history, including in 2000 and 2006. The state also has a higher than average fatality rate due to its rural nature and low population density.

The weather system expected to bring storms to Arkansas on Monday could produce a few severe thunderstorms, damaging winds and hail. The risk for those storms is high, according to the National Weather Service.

The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted parts of central and southern Arkansas in a Level 3 out of 5 risk for severe thunderstorms. This is an especially potent storm system for this time of year, and the risk should not be ignored.

Wind Speeds

Tornadoes are a dangerous and common weather phenomenon. They can be devastating to the lives and property of people living in tornado-prone areas.

A strong storm system moving into Arkansas Thursday morning could lead to damaging straight-line winds, large hail and isolated tornadoes across the state. This risk will be greatest for northwest and central Arkansas through midday.

In recent weeks, the state has seen several tornadoes including an EF-1 tornado near Izard County and an EF-2 tornado near Pope Country.

Earlier this week, a tornado tore up a football field and stadium light poles at Jessieville High School in Garland County. This tornado is estimated to be a EF-1, according to the National Weather Service.

The latest severe weather outbreak in Arkansas is the largest in a single week since late May. It has also prompted several tornado warnings and watches, Accuweather reported.

Paths of Damage

The National Weather Service has been surveying storm damage reports across Arkansas to plot and analyze the paths of tornadoes. 14 tornadoes have been confirmed by the NWS since last Friday, making this the largest outbreak of confirmed tornadoes in the state in nearly two years.

The most recent tornado to hit the state, an EF-3 that carved a path of destruction through Vilonia and other suburbs near Little Rock on Sunday night, killed at least 16 people. Authorities said the twister started in Waldron and then swept through Little Rock’s northern suburbs, including Vilonia, a town that was destroyed by a tornado three years ago.

In another swath of western Arkansas, an EF-1 tornado tore through the Boston Mountains in Franklin County on Friday, snapping large trees and damaging homes. The tornado then moved east and touched down in Mansfield, near Huntington and Dayton, the NWS reported.

Tornado Warnings

Tornadoes are a serious threat to people living in Arkansas. They are caused by severe thunderstorms, which produce strong tornadoes that can lift cars and other vehicles off the ground.

If a warning is issued, everyone should immediately go to a place of safety such as a storm shelter, basement or the lowest level of a building. If you can’t find a safe location, lie flat on the ground, covering your head with your arms to protect it from flying debris.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for 23 Arkansas counties until 10 p.m. The counties include Arkansas, Bradley, Clark, Cleveland, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Garland, Hot Spring, Jefferson, Lincoln, Monroe, Montgomery, Nevada, Ouachita and Pike.


Tornado Dave is the best place to learn more about severe weather and climate science. He's a veritable tornado of information, and he loves nothing more than educating others about the importance of being prepared for extreme weather events. Make sure to check in with Tornado Dave often, as he's always updating his blog with the latest news and information!
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