Close Call in Mayflower

I got a little too close for comfort to a destructive tornado in Mayflower, Arkansas last night.

The day was relatively quiet in terms of severe weather up until about 7 p.m. A severe thunderstorm began to show signs of rotation just west of Little Rock and I went east on I-40 to get a closer look. By the time I was just a few miles away, it was clear that this storm was an intense and destructive tornado with a clear debris ball signature on radar.
The sky became very dark and I knew I had to get back on the interstate and get out of there. I saw the outer edge of the tornado to the south, as well as inflow toward the west. Just as I was coming up to the stop light to turn onto I-40, the lights went out. The timing was very eerie. I quickly rushed (north) on I-40 west to get away from the storm. The sky turned pitch black and winds picked up.

I drove south and east for a few miles before turning around to see if I could catch the tail end of the storm. I didn’t see the back of the tornado, but I quickly began to see widespread significant damage in Mayflower. I went down one street and power lines were down, trees uprooted, debris in the roads and there was a foul odor of gas. I turned around as emergency personnel needed to get through. In the process I got stuck in a ditch, but I was very fortunate that some kind residents in the area quickly towed me out of there in less than 10 minutes. I did not see the full extent of the damage, but I saw enough to know that the tornado that ripped through was at least an EF-3, if not an EF-4.

I kept driving for a while, as I was still a bit dazed from what I had seen. I didn’t get the greatest video footage, but I will try to upload some later this week.

Here’s an approximate look at when and where I was during this storm:

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Quincy is a meteorologist and storm chaser who travels around the country documenting and researching severe weather. He has on-air experience with stations such as WTNH-TV in New Haven, CT and WREX-TV in Rockford, IL. He was most recently a digital meteorologist for After achieving his B.S. degree in Meteorology at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) in 2009, he returned as a University Assistant to help produce weather broadcasts. He also gave guest lectures and worked on website design. He has over nine years of professional weather forecasting experience and his forecasts have been featured in newspapers and on radio stations in multiple states.

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1 Response

  1. Brian Vagell says:

    Sounds like you just made it out of what could’ve been a very bad day! Glad all is well! Keep up the great reporting,and thank goodness for the kindness you were shown when you were stuck in a ditch!!