Tornado in Arkansas: March 13th
A chase in Arkansas is a battle between harsh terrain in the western part of the state, and the more chaser-friendly Mississippi Valley to the east. I found myself in the middle of these two areas for a chase on March 13th. By early afternoon, robust supercells were dropping very large hail in parts of western to central Arkansas, but I was holding out hope for something later in the day farther east.
It was a tough wait, as time was going by in Pine Bluff, a location that I sat in for at least two hours, patiently waiting. Time was running out and once a few thunderstorms started to fire overhead, it was time to get moving. After a few storms tried to get going, but failed to produce, I finally had a visual on radar of a storm developing substantial rotation to my south. As I moved in that direction, I eventually came across a special storm.
A funnel cloud reached down and suddenly touched the ground, just north of Grady, AR. A small tornado was hopping up and down for just a few minutes before roping out, but I was able to grab the picture above. Although the storm had lifted, a ragged wall cloud made for a picturesque scene. Joey Krastel was a little bit closer and shot some nice video that can be seen here.
Clusters of storms continued to develop into the night, moving northeast across eastern Arkansas. It was difficult to see due to darkness, but I witnessed at least one other tornado near Marvell. As I was driving through down, I noticed power lines down, including a line that had fallen in someone’s yard, starting a fire. Crews were on scene, so I pushed forward.
I eventually called the chase off a short time later, as night chasing is not very fun, especially when the storm mode was relatively messy. As often is the case, once I see one tornado, there’s even more reason to not get greedy. Overall, this was a fun chase in Arkansas and an example that good things come to those who wait.
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