The Sevier and Howard Tornadoes of April 9th, 2009

Thursday, April 9th 2009, marked the largest tornado outbreak in the four state region since the Easter Sunday outbreak of 2000. Despite the large number of tornadoes, which destroyed or severely damaged several homes across the region, we can be thankful that no deaths were reported across the Shreveport NWS forecast region, and that only a few people were injured.

Survey teams from the NWS in Shreveport fanned out across the region on the morning of Friday, April 10th to survey the damage across the region. Survey teams found tracks of 12 seperate tornadoes,all located mainly along and north of Interstate 20.

The following is a more detailed look at two tornadoes which struck in southwest Arkansas.

Tornado 2: Red Track
Time of event -- 8:01 pm through 8:47 pm CDT 04/09/2009
Beginning point -- 6 miles east-northeast of Eagletown Oklahoma
Ending point -- on ground as it passed into soutwest Pike County AR
Rating -- EF3 with maximum winds 140 mph
Path length -- 35 miles
Maximum width -- 0.5 mile
Fatalities -- 0
Injuries -- 7...just north of Dierks Arkansas

This tornado initially touched down in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, on the west side of West Line Road, rolling a mobile home and demolishing an outbuilding. Several chicken houses were destroyed and several oak trees and power lines were downed as the tornado moved northeastward into Sevier County. At least 10 to 12 mobile homes were destroyed as the tornado moved across a mobile home community along US-71 in the northern part of DeQueen. Seven injuries were reported within this area. A security camera, located at the Sevier County jail, recorded footage of the tornado when it was located just west of the mobile home community.

Dierks Lake received significant damage near the Sevier/Howard County line. The Army Corps of Engineers office had significant roof damage to their office building, with roofing material found in trees adjacent to the building. The tornado was strongest in Howard County, where the entire second story of a reinforced concrete building was decimated and strewn across the road. This is consistent with EF3 tornado damage, with wind speeds of 140 mph. The tornado weakened and subsequently lifted approximately 3 miles north of Dierks, near the intersection of SR-4 and 31010 Road.


Tornado 4 - Anticyclonic tornado: Blue Track
Time of event -- 8:34 pm through 8:37 pm CDT 04/09/2009
Beginning point -- 8 miles northwest of Nashville Arkansas
Ending point -- 1.2 miles north of Centerpoint Arkansas
Rating -- EF2 with maximum winds 125 mph
Path length -- 2.5 miles
Maximum width -- 0.5 mile
Fatalities -- 0
Injuries -- 1

This tornado initially touched down near an open field, approximately 1.5 mile south of Centerpoint, along Coonridge Road. Travelling slightly east of due north, the tornado snapped and uprooted numerous pine and oak trees. The most significant damage occurred at a single-family residence 0.75 mile north of the touchdown, where the house suffered a considerable amount of damage. The garage, roof, and many supporting walls were removed from the foundation. All windows not completely blown out by the storm were still shattered. A barn adjacent to the house had a considerable loss of roofing material but, although shifted off its foundation, remained largely intact. Trees and powerlines were snapped or uprooted as the storm moved through the community of Centerpoint before lifting along Billings Road, about 0.25 mile east of SR-4.


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A map of the storm tracks and locations of storm damage. Click on the icons along the track for additional information. You can also click on the pictures to enlarge them.

The Sevier and Howard Tornadoes of April 9th, 2009
Here is radar imagery of the two storms that moved across southwest Arkansas. Notice the storm that splits in Bowie County TX. The left part of the storm moves to the northeast through Little River, Sevier and Howard Counties at around 80 mph! Further northward is a tornadic supercell which developed over McCurtain County Oklahom and cut a track across northern Sevier and Howard Counties, before moving into Pike County. This storm exhibits the classic "hook" on its southwest end, a feature common to tornadic thunderstorms.

The Sevier and Howard Tornadoes of April 9th, 2009
This is imagery of storm relative motion, which measures rotation in a thunderstorm relative to the radar. Green and blue colors indicate air moving toward the radar while red and pink colors indicate air moving away from the radar. The brighter the color, the faster the air is moving. In this imagery, Where the pinks and blues are very close together is where the tornado is occurring. Most tornadoes rotate counter-clockwise, as is the case with the northern storm. Air is moving toward the radar on the left side of the image, and moving away from the radar on the right side.

Now, look at the southern storm which is moving rapidly from the bottom-left to the top-right of the imagery. Notice the blues are on the right side and the reds are on the left side. This is imagery of a rare clockwise-spinning, or anticyclonic, tornado.

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