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strmchsr77 - tornadoes in NWA


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This is straddling the line between this forum and the coffee house but...I'm still uneasy about a big tornado some day in NWA.


We had the new year's eve eve 2010 twister, a deadly one, in Cincinnati in south Washington county.  NWA is BLESSED that in the tornadic mini-outbreak of March 2006 that A) nothing ever came of the Saturday tornado-warned storm in Rogers that intensified around Branson, MO, and; B) the big tornado that ripped Bentonville the next night (and even the EF-3 one in far west Benton County which preceded it) occured at night rather than afternoon (such as the super-killer Joplin "T" from 2 years ago, or the killer Newton County and Pierce City storms of a few years before).


I know it's the same as worrying about earthquakes in LA or hurricanes in Miami, but I still wonder how many of these many, many houses I see being built have either basements (less likely on Ozark plateau rocky ground) or storm shelters.


The killer storms such as the Joplin and Pierce City ones have resulted from classic or near-classic "Miller-Fawbush" days, and tend to move more or less straight east rather than purely northeast.  Not that it will happen here, but I keep getting an image of a near mile-wide EF-5 in my mind forming around someplease like Centerton, then moving east, maybe rain-wrapped or not.  Imagine the traffic on Centerton/Hwy 102 trying to flee.


You can't live your life in fear, but I still am concerned that it's going to happen here some day, and I hope people are ready.

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Well, lets just start by saying it's going to happen eventually.  We do live on the eastern edge of Tornado Alley.  The likely hood of a Joplin or a Tuscaloosa happening is minimal but it will always be there.  It is much more likely that an EF1-EF-3 will cut a major path across some part of the metro over the next decade.  We have managed to remain "lucky" so far that only a few smaller tornadoes have hit and mostly in more rural Benton county.  Even in a down year like 2012 we had a few small ones come across the metro.  The more recent one near Pinnacle and an even smaller one back in March on the east side of Fayetteville in the Mission/Crossover area are some that I was out chasing on.


So in a quick summery...over a long enough time span it will happen...

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For those of you that may have interest in learning more about Storm Spotting.  The National Weather Service holds classes starting this month in select cities across the NW AR and NE OK area. They are held in the evenings and only last an hour or two. 


There is already one scheduled in Siloam Springs on January 22nd.  They will likely add one in Fayetteville and another in the Bentonville/Rogers area as the month progresses.


Here is a link to the dates.



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  • 8 months later...

Strmchsr, thanks.


I remember you were out chasing the system which spawned the tornado family that went through Benton County and Bentonville in March 2006.  (I was underneath the tornado that night.)  That was a BIG tornado...had it occurred during maximum heating of the day, and given the path it took, I shudder to think what might have happened.  I remember seeing a fence north of the WM ISD building, where I'd walked our dog not an hour before, suddenly start spinning up into the air two blocks away.  Then I remember how the walls vibrated in our home and the "hiss, hiss" sound of the tornado as it suddenly was gone.


Thought of you because I remember the storms that formed a month or two ago that did so much flooding here particularly in Bella Vista.  (Which may also have seen a small weak tornado during the "Super Tuesday" outbreak in 2008.)  You said the Oklahoma storm cell that eventually formed the Bentonville tornado just got electrified all at once, and how.  That was how the cloud tower I was watching (from near the condos just west of the Beaver Lake bridge at Prairie Creek) became.  Now, that was to the east and we so rarely see east-to-west cloud movements here that I don't think that was the storm, just part of the storm system.  But I remember thinking how vivid and fast the c-c lightning was and remembering your description of the tornadic storm in Oklahoma back in March 2006.


What an interesting year its been for weather...though nothing like 2011 around here, fortunately.

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