The continuous cycle of extreme weather leads to high-intensity storm systems, which we see in the south. This is leading to a large tornado threat.
There have been 9 total tornadoes that formed in Texas, 4 in Arkansas, and 1 in Oklahoma. This is just a preliminary count done by the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center; the actual count will vary in numbers.
The total number of confirmed tornadoes will likely increase during the day on Saturday, and there is still no certainty as to how bad the damage could be. The NWS office will conduct surveys in order to collect more data, and these may take several days.
In Texas, the damage was confirmed west of Paris and near Sulphur Springs in the state’s northeast.
A tornado in Hopkins County, Texas damaged at least four homes in the area, the sheriff’s office there said. Luckily, there were no injuries reported.
At least one person has died in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, following significant storm damage. According to county emergency manager Cody McDaniel, the storm downed many trees and powerlines.
A woman in Oklahoma was injured by a falling tree as she was heading to a storm shelter, Lewis Collins, an emergency management volunteer from the Choctaw area, told reporters. It’s unclear whether a tornado occurred or not, he said.
Lamar County also witnessed quite a bit of damage, and a few injuries were also reported there by Constable Travis Rhodes.
The Storm Prediction Center determined that severe thunderstorms pose a moderate risk – Level 4 on a scale of 5 – for eastern Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, southwestern Arkansas, and northwestern Louisiana on Friday.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area has an enhanced risk for Friday, which is a Level 3 out of 4. The prediction center said, A likely area for strong tornadoes, EF2 or higher, will be from southern Oklahoma to eastern Texas, east of the I-35 corridor.
According to the Storm Prediction Center, in addition to the extreme risk of tornadoes, scattered large to very large hail is possible, up to golf ball-sized (2″ in diameter).
Storm Predictions Center estimates the watch in effect until midnight will cover a large swath of western Arkansas and north Louisiana, along with east Oklahoma, northeast Texas, and a small part south of Dallas.
The main threat for tornadoes has been this afternoon and evening, but the threat is going to shift to damaging winds as thunderstorms move into Arkansas and Louisiana.
As the storms move to the east, a significant widespread and damaging wind event is predicted for later on Friday evening across portions of the Ark-La-Tex region. This is the main reason behind the upgraded threat level by the prediction center.
This strong storm system will be moving quickly, which means that it is unlikely to trigger flash flooding in and around the Ark-La-Tex region. Farthest north, one to four inches of rain is predicted through Saturday over a broad area from Kansas to Wisconsin.
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