A line of strong thunderstorms that damaged buildings and disrupted power supply in northwestern Arkansas on Wednesday caused significant damage and was expected to continue racing across the South, with gusty winds and possibly tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.
According to Joe Sellers, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office, Tulsa which oversees five Arkansas counties, a tornado may have struck Springdale, Arkansas, around 4 a.m. on Wednesday.
“We are pretty certain that one occurred,” Mr. Sellers stated this in a telephone interview. Sellers said that a survey team was heading to Springdale to assess and confirm the tornado’s existence.
According to the Springdale Police Department: Roads were closed, there were reports of downed tree and power lines. Local news outlets captured footage of roofs being removed from homes and businesses throughout the city.
The Springdale School District closed schoolsDue to the severe weather conditions and power outages on Wednesday, The district reported significant damage at George Elementary School in Springdale.
“The gymnasium was destroyed and the kitchen and cafeteria were severely damaged,” the school district said on Facebook.
The Weather Service warned of wind gusts across the state on Wednesday, as a cold front moved into the state.
“These storms will be capable of producing gusty winds in excess of 60 mph,” the Weather Service in Little Rock said on TwitterIt was also possible to add hail.
The eastern portion of the state will experience the strongest winds, with gusts up to 50 miles an hour.
A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for areas of Arkansas, including Valley Springs and Western Grove, Gassville, Gassville, and Bull Shoals, on Wednesday morning.
A tornado watch that was in effect for several counties on Wednesday morning has been canceled, including Boone and Johnson.
The state has experienced widespread power outages due to the bad weather. According to PowerOutage.US (a website that aggregates data from utilities), more than 5,000 customers were without power Wednesday morning.
The storms came following a tornado that struck the New Orleans area last week. They caused severe damage and disrupted power supply.
Source: NY Times