LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Strong storms moved through the Natural State on Monday, January 2 bringing heavy rain, damaging winds, and several tornado warnings.
Severe storms started to move into the state during the afternoon on Monday. The first tornado warning for Arkansas was issued at 2:22 p.m. in northwest Arkansas for portions of Logan and Johnson counties.
Shortly after, a tornado warning was issued for central Arkansas. At 2:44 p.m., a tornado warning was issued for portions of Garland, Perry and Saline counties. This storm is responsible for damage in Jessieville.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service in Little Rock had determined this damage was due to an EF-1 Tornado.
Damage was also reported to Jessieville High School Monday afternoon.
Strong to severe thunderstorm activity continued for the next few hours before another tornado warning was issued for far southern Arkansas. At 5:53 p.m., Union county was placed under a tornado warning. At 6:27 p.m., that warning was extended into Ashley county as well.
NWS Jackson confirmed Wednesday, January 4, a single track tornado caused damage in Ashley and Chicot Counties over southeast Arkansas from Monday’s storms.
The tornado started in southern Ashley County near Wilmot at 6:55pm Monday, January 2 and intensified as it moved over Montrose as an EF2 with peak wind estimated at 120mph. (EF2 has wind of 111 to 135mph). The tornado then tracked northeast into Chicot County before dissipating before the Desha County line near Dermott at 7:44pm.
The tornado was on the ground for 40.3 miles with a path width of 1,300 yards.
This brings the tornado count in Arkansas for 2023 to two tornadoes, as of January 4.
Also at 6:00 p.m., a tornado warning was issued for portions of White, Woodruff and Prarie counties. Tree and limb damage was reported from this storm in Georgetown.
Little River, Sevier and Howard county saw their first tornado warning at 8:39 p.m.
Shortly after, another tornado warning was issued for Union County at 8:47 p.m.
Storms continued to move eastward as two more tornado warnings were issued. The first was for portions of Drew and Desha counties at 9:39 PM, and then at 9:56 PM for portions of Arkansas, Lincon and Desha counties. The far northeastern tip of Desha County also saw another brief tornado warning at 10:36 PM.
Along with numerous severe thunderstorm warnings, there were several flash flood warnings.
Heavy rainfall fell in portions of southern Arkansas Monday night into the overnight hours with several areas picking up multiple inches per hour.
One of the hardest hit areas was DeWitt with more than a foot of radar-estimated rainfall.
The first flash flood warning was issued for DeWitt at 3:07 a.m. Tuesday. Another flash flood warning was issued at 5:00 a.m.
Several roads and bridges were reported flooded by Tuesday morning.
Strong storms continued overnight. Another tornado warning was issued for Ashley County at 6:25 a.m. Tuesday, followed by one in Chicot county at 7:13 a.m.
Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning, 11 tornado warnings were issued along with numerous flash-flood and severe thunderstorm warnings.
As more information comes out regarding confirmed tornadoes and ratings, the Arkansas Storm Team will continue to provide updates.