I think we found out how flawed computer models can be at times. As I say, they are never perfect. Over the past few days, I was very hesitant about calling for an outbreak of "tornadoes". Instead, I thought the outbreak of "severe weather" was more appropriate for the situation. The system was slow getting here. There were a couple of factors which mitigated more storm activity Thursday PM. There was a "lid" on the atmosphere. That basically means there was a warm layer aloft which held tough. If that had eroded enough, storms would have exploded earlier.
Very large hail caused damage in northern Arkansas, while massive "bow echoes" caused plenty of wind damage across the south. Could there have been a tornado? It's possible and the National Weather Service will probably survey some of the damage. Along those "bows" there can be quick spin ups (brief tornadoes). This is just a classic example why severe thunderstorms need to be taken seriously. Some of those winds could have reached 70 mph or higher. That's the equivalent of a small tornado.
At one point, Entergy reported more than 50 thousand power outages and most were in south Arkansas.
In the radar loop below, you will see a couple of these "bows" across south Arkansas. They look like backward C's. The apex of the bow usually contain massive winds which can reach 70 mph or greater. Also, along the leading edge of these bows, brief spin up can occur. Also, there can be tornadoes in what's called the "comma head" of these bows. That's on the northern end.
|Wind damage in Warren. KATV viewer picture|
|"W" indicates wind damage or high wind reports. "H" indicates hail|