Cross, Poinsett, Mississippi and Dyer County Tornado

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Reflectivity Base Velocity showing storm's rotation
Cross/Poinsett County
Mississippi County
Dyer County


Warnings Issued


  • 5:19pm: Tornado Warning for NW Cross and Poinsett County

  • 6:11pm: Tornado Warning for Mississippi County

  • 7:01pm: Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Dyer County

  • 7:10pm: Tornado Warning for Dyer County



The same supercell thunderstorm that had produced at least two killer tornadoes in central Arkansas including the tornado that moved through Arkadelphia was picked up by doppler radar in Memphis just outside of Cross county when a tornado warning was issued by the NWS at 5:19pm for northwestern Cross county and Poinsett county.

The tornado touched down about 1 mile southwest of Hickory Ridge near the intersection of hwy's 49 and 42. It moved northeast across the southern half of the town. At least 65 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed, including the elementary school. Numerous trees, power lines and poles were blown down or snapped, and debris was strewn for miles northeast of the town. Additional damage included a concrete block gas station that was converted into a home and a Southwestern Bell main switching station was destroyed, knocking out phone service to a large part of the Cross county. More damage from the tornado was observed northeast of town mainly to trees. This tree damage extended into southern Poinsett county before the storm weakened.

Residents of the town were aware of severe weather in the area, and several noted that they had heard tornado warnings before the storm hit. Theda West, whose home was heavily damaged, said that she had been watching television and had heard a warning for northwest Cross county that mentioned Hickory Ridge. She went immediately to her tornado shelter area (an interior room with no windows) and took cover. Minutes later, the tornado hit, but Ms. West was not injured. The mayor of the town had attended several spotter training classes conducted by the NWS in Memphis and was positioned on the southwest edge of town watching for the storm. He identified a rotating wall cloud and called the fire department to sound sound the siren, but before the siren was activated, the tornado developed and power was lost.

The tornado rated as an F3 with estimated winds of 158-206 mph, a path 3 miles long and 200 yards wide.

This storm then moved into Mississippi county with the NWS issuing a tornado warning at 6:11pm. Some minor wind damage was observed near Etowah while two mobile homes were completely destroyed along hwy 77 near Lennie. A tree was uprooted and several large limbs blown down at this location as well. Further northeast, along hwy 181 south of hwy 148, a mobile home on blocks was rolled over and severely damaged. Several large cotton trailers were also rolled over. A tin building/grain bin was destroyed and debris scattered across fields for one half mile. The storm apparently weakened and the tornado dissipated as it approached Blytheville.

This tornado rated as an F2 with winds estimated 113-157 mph, a path 5-7 miles long and 50-100 yards wide.

The same storm then crossed the Mississippi River into Dyer County with the NWS issuing a severe thunderstorm warning at 7:01pm which was then upgraded to a tornado warning at 7:10pm. This tornado destroyed 190 homes as it ripped a path from just east of the Mississippi River to near Newbern. The most intense damage was noted in the Luana Hills subdivision east of Finley where several well-constructed homes were completely leveled down to the foundation. Unfortunately, there was also one death from this tornado as well when a 13 year old girl was killed in her home as she was taking cover.

This tornado was rated an F4 with estimated winds of 207-260 mph, a path 12-15 miles long and 100-200 yards wide.


Damage Photos- Hickory Ridge, AR

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