Monthly Storm Reports and Storm Data
Storm Reports
Are you interested in what happened during a recent event? Check out the report below.
 
Severe Storms/Heavy Rain on May 20-21, 2013
 
A cold front in the Plains was slowed by a ridge of high pressure ("H") in the southeast United States during the afternoon of 05/20/2013.

The spring severe weather season started slowly through April, but showed signs of waking up in mid to late May. On May 20th, a stubborn cold front pushed into warm/humid air in Oklahoma, and scattered severe thunderstorms erupted.

In the picture: A cold front in the Plains was slowed by a ridge of high pressure ("H") in the southeast United States during the afternoon of 05/20/2013. This allowed warm/humid air to build ahead of the front, with plenty of fuel for thunderstorm development.

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed strong rotation and a tornado heading into Moore, OK from the west at 321 pm CDT on 05/20/2013.
In the picture: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed strong rotation and a tornado heading into Moore, OK from the west at 321 pm CDT on 05/20/2013.
A debris ball quickly grew in the hook echo portion of the storm (where the tornado was located). This indicated that structures were being damaged/destroyed.
In the picture: A debris ball quickly grew in the hook echo portion of the storm (where the tornado was located). This indicated that structures were being damaged/destroyed. For a closer look (from southwest to northeast) at the vertical extent of the debris ball (more than 20,000 feet), click here.
 

The storms were expected to spawn tornadoes, and that is exactly what happened. Just west of Moore, OK, a tornado rapidly widened and tore through town. Neighborhoods were flattened and became unrecognizable. Winds swirling around the tornado (rated EF5) were estimated over 200 mph. At least 24 people were killed. It was perhaps the worst tornado disaster since the Joplin, MO tornado in May, 2011.

The Moore, OK nightmare followed other tornadoes produced along the same front on the 18th/19th. In Iowa, the first tornadoes in 359 days were tallied. Wichita, KS was also hit by a tornado (rated EF1). Powerful tornadoes (rated EF4) swept through rural Rozel, KS and the north side of Shawnee, OK. The latter tornado caused 2 deaths.

 

 

At least four rounds of storms tracked into/through Arkansas from 903 pm CDT on 05/20/2013 to 731 am CDT on 05/21/2013.
In the picture: At least four rounds of storms tracked into/through Arkansas from 903 pm CDT on 05/20/2013 to 731 am CDT on 05/21/2013.
 

As the front wobbled toward Arkansas, there was at least some fear of similar tornadoes. While storms tended to weaken as they headed into northwest sections of the state toward dark on the 20th, there were still three small (rated EF1) tornadoes identified.

The first tornado touched down in Adair County, OK and tracked just north of Cincinnati (Washington County). Two barns were damaged along the way. A second tornado twisted trees north of Siloam Springs (Benton County), with a third tornado throwing boat docks on Beaver Lake southeast of Prairie Creek (Benton County). These findings were provided by the National Weather Service in Tulsa, OK.

Elsewhere in the northwest, thunderstorm gusts reached 60 to 80 mph. At 715 pm CDT on the 20th, a 69 mph gust was recorded at Springdale (Washington County). A sign was blown onto a vehicle, and an occupant (19 year old male) was killed.

As the evening progressed, the structure of the storms changed, with several rounds of bowing (back C-shaped) segments. These storms raced across the region during the wee hours of the 21st, and were accompanied by strong to damaging straight-line winds.

 

Trees were pushed over at Heber Springs (Cleburne County), with one tree on a house. Trees were also toppled near Steprock (White County), with a barn damaged and a mobile home blown over. A 65 mph gust was measured at Oil Trough (Independence County), with a 60 mph gust at Jonesboro (Craighead County), a 58 mph gust at Newport (Jackson County) and a 55 mph gust at Little Rock (Pulaski County). Mena (Polk County) had a gust to 52 mph.

Storm reports in the twenty four hour period ending at 900 am CDT on 05/21/2013.
In the picture: Storm reports in the twenty four hour period ending at 900 am CDT on 05/21/2013. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK.

 

Temperatures at 200 pm CDT on 05/21/2013.

Clouds and rain kept temperatures down during the afternoon of the 21st. Much of Arkansas had readings in the 60s/70s, and this kept the atmosphere fairly stable.

In the picture: Temperatures at 200 pm CDT on 05/21/2013.

 

This was good news, with less of a chance for severe storms as the front finally pushed into the area from the west. It was warmer and more unstable to the south/east, and that is where storms tended to focus.

 

Even so, there was isolated severe weather across the southern counties between 400 pm and 900 pm CDT. One storm brought golfball size hail to areas near Warren (Bradley County). Trees and/or power lines were downed at De Queen (Sevier County), Lewisville (Lafayette County), Hamburg (Ashley County) and Lake Village (Chicot County).

Severe weather and flood headlines as of 304 pm CDT on 05/21/2013.
In the picture: Severe weather and flood headlines as of 304 pm CDT on 05/21/2013.

 

Forty eight hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 05/22/2013.
In the picture: Forty eight hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 05/22/2013.
 

As far as rainfall during this event, it was appreciable. Forty eight hour totals through 700 am CDT on the 22nd ranged from one to three inches at many spots. There were a few places in the west and far northeast that got more than three inches. At Big Fork (Polk County), 4.03 inches was measured, with 3.48 inches at Lake Poinsett State Park (Poinsett County), 3.43 inches at Fort Smith (Sebastian County), 3.25 inches at Mena (Polk County) and 3.20 inches at Waldron (Scott County).

Flooding was minimal, but there was a report of roads under water south of Marshall (Searcy County) just after 100 pm CDT on the 21st. 

 

Storm Reports
Preliminary reports of severe weather and flash flooding in the Little Rock County Warning Area on May 20-21, 2013 (in red).
Submit a storm report.
There were several reports wind damage, hail and flash flooding on May 20th and 21st, 2013. For a look at the reports, click here.
 
Link of Interest
Plot Reports
In the picture: Preliminary reports of severe weather and flash flooding in the Little Rock County Warning Area on May 20-21, 2013 (in red).

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