From KARK 4 Meteorologist Greg Dee:
We're getting a lot of storms, lots of watches, but no tornado warnings. This may be the reason why. The top map (below) shows the areas of highest surface instability, with areas in green/yellow being the highest. The bottom map shows areas of spin near the surface, with highest values in orange/red. The two need to be aligned to generate the highest tornado threat. Right now, the highest surface instability is in OK/TX while the highest spin is at the surface. They're not occurring together, limiting tornado threat. Lets hope this remains the case. We'll continue to watch these factors to see how they move into the evening. The threat right now, though maybe lower, is certainly nowhere near zero so all the current storms in areas under watches need to be monitored carefully.
Original story (7:55 a.m.):
Severe weather is threatening Arkansas today and tonight.
The National Weather Service's (NWS) Storm Prediction Center has issued a moderate risk for much of the state, mostly southern, central and Eastern Arkansas.
KARK 4 Meteorologist Greg Dee says storms this afternoon/evening will likely be severe with a threat for wind damage, hail and isolated tornadoes.
Arkansans are advised to keep checking local media websites for updates and to make sure you have a working weather radio at home programmed to sound an alarm for your county.
The NWS says the storm system will track from the southern Plains toward the mid-Mississippi Valley, and will drag a cold front into the region. Along and ahead of the front, strong to severe thunderstorms will develop.
Initially, storms will be scattered across northern and western sections of the state from the late morning into the afternoon of the 29th. Eventually, a line of storms (squall line) should evolve by evening, and will sweep quickly from west to east through the region.
There will be a lot of wind energy surrounding the front, and storms will move quickly (more than 50 mph). This will increase chances for damaging winds, with gusts expected to reach 60 to 80 mph in some cases. This will be enough to down trees and power lines. Trees are particularly vulnerable (weakened) now following a widespread drought and heavy snow during the holiday season.
While individual storms could certainly produce wind damage, it is along the line of storms where wind damage should be most concentrated.
Winds will also turn somewhat with height, and this could lead to isolated tornadoes. Any tornadoes would be most likely in storms ahead of the main line, or where there is no competition for available energy.
The only inhibiting factor is instability. The big system aloft driving this event will lag a bit to the west. The system will be surrounded by cooler air overhead, and that will be delayed. While it will be plenty warm and moist toward the ground, a lack of cooling upstairs will keep the atmosphere marginally unstable. In addition, instability will tend to trend downward after dark with the loss of daytime heating. A shortage of instability could help reduce instances of severe weather.
Other than severe weather, heavy rain is also a concern during this event. Moisture levels will be impressive, and two to three times higher than normal. This will make thunderstorms more efficient rainmakers.
In general, rainfall should average a half inch to an inch and a half. However, two to four inch amounts could materialize in parts of the north/west where development occurs ahead of the main line. This could result in localized flash flooding.
The NWS says Arkansans should prepare for severe weather and heavy rain on the 29th/early on the 30th.
Have a safe place in mind, and be ready to go there if a warning is issued for your area.
Click here to bookmark My Interactive Radar and follow storms that move into your area.
Be prepared now, click here to sign up for KARK 4 severe weather alerts.
Links to weather radio apps for iPhone, iPad & android.
iMap Weather Radio from iTunes
iMap Weather Radio from Google
Free Android Weather Radio App
S.A.M.E. codes for every county in Arkansas:
You use these codes to program your weather radio for your county. It also lists the frequency the radio should be tuned to in many towns to get the weather radio transmission. These frequencies will work for most, but you should always try a couple near you to see which one sounds best for your area.