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Yearly Reports
Interested in what kind of weather occurred in a recent year? Check out the most memorable events below.
 
Severe Weather on April 9, 2009 (Pg1)
 
The pattern on 04/09/2009. A progressive weather pattern continued in early April. Large storm systems swept across the Plains, including one system on the 9th.
In the picture: The pattern on 04/09/2009. A storm system ("L") approached the region from the Plains. Strong south winds at 5000 feet brought warmth/moisture from the Gulf Coast, with southwest winds at 30000 feet lifting this air aloft to build storms.

 

Strong winds aloft provided plenty of ventilation to promote storm growth. When air was drawn upward, there was some question as to how much warmth and moisture (instability) would be available to fuel developing storms. With previous systems, instability was limited...and there was not much severe weather. There was enough instability this time.

 

Severe Weather in 2009
In 2009, there were no tornadoes in Arkansas through April 8th. Last year, there were 36 tornadoes by this time. In previous years, there were at least a dozen cases where the first tornado did not occur until April. In one year (1969), the first tornado was not spawned until August 16th.

 

Low level moisture values increased during the overnight hours of the 8th. By 10 am CDT on the 9th, dewpoints were still in the 30s (dry) across the northern counties, but surged into the 50s elsewhere. Dewpoints made it into the lower 60s in places during the afternoon. Dewpoints at 4 pm CDT on 04/09/2009.
In the picture: Dewpoints at 4 pm CDT on 04/09/2009. A dewpoint gradient existed from Oklahoma into Texas along a dryline, with moisture to the east of this feature and very dry air to the west.

 

The satellite showed clouds and areas of rain in Arkansas, with clearing and storms initiating in eastern Oklahoma as of 245 pm CDT on 04/09/2009. The increase in moisture led to a lot of low clouds and areas of rain, which limited sunshine and warming on the 9th. However, there was clearing from western Arkansas into Oklahoma and Texas...and temperatures were on the way up.
In the picture: The satellite showed clouds and areas of rain in Arkansas, with clearing and storms initiating in eastern Oklahoma as of 245 pm CDT on 04/09/2009. The storms were ahead of a storm system ("L") near the Texas panhandle.

 

The system approached as the atmosphere destabilized during the heat of the afternoon and evening (when severe weather is most likely historically). Isolated to scattered storms initiated along a dryline (separating moisture to its east from dry air farther west) in eastern Oklahoma between 2 and 3 pm CDT.

The storms became more numerous as they headed into western Arkansas, and encountered an impressive wind field around the incoming system. Winds turned with height (south near the ground and southwest aloft), which caused some storms to rotate and spawn isolated tornadoes.

 

One tornado (rated EF1) affected areas north and west of Rocky (Polk County), and downed numerous trees. A stronger tornado followed, and tracked through Mena (Polk County) around 810 pm CDT. Hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Three people lost their lives, with thirty injuries.
WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) Storm Relative Velocity Map (SRM) images indicated strong rotation moving through Mena (Polk County) between 800 pm and 812 pm CDT on 04/09/2009.
In the picture: WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) Storm Relative Velocity Map (SRM) images indicated strong rotation moving through Mena (Polk County) between 800 pm and 812 pm CDT on 04/09/2009.

 

The town was hit by a tornado (rated F2) in 1993, and several residents expressed that this latest tornado was worse.

Surveyors from the National Weather Service visited the area on April 10th/11th, and gave the tornado an EF3 rating. The tornado was accompanied by golfball to apple size hail.

 

 

More Information
 
There is more concerning severe storms on April 9th. To check out the rest of the story, click here.

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