Showers and thunderstorms will occur in the state this morning and this afternoon, well out ahead of an approaching weather system. Some severe thunderstorms, producing damaging winds and a few tornadoes, could occur this afternoon. Locally heavy rain is likely.
A Tornado Watch is in effect for nine counties in southwest Arkansas, and I expect another Tornado Watch to be issued farther north later this afternoon.
Early this evening, a line of thunderstorms accompanying a cold front will enter western Arkansas. Chances for severe weather should increase as these storms move in.
Damaging winds will be the primary severe weather threat. Isolated tornadoes will be possible, especially with any strong storms that develop out ahead of the line. Greatest chances for severe weather should be during the evening hours. However, even after midnight, some severe weather could occur. With the ground as saturated as it is, it will not be difficult for thunderstorms winds to blow trees down.
The line of storms should exit eastern Arkansas early Friday afternoon. However, rain will linger behind the front for a number of hours. The rain should finally move out of eastern Arkansas late Friday night. Flash Flood Watches are in effect for all of Arkansas except for seven counties in the northwest. The heaviest rain in Arkansas is likely to occur tonight and Friday.
By the time the rain exits the state, total rainfall is likely to be in the 3/4 inch to 2 inch range west of a Texarkana-Mountain Home line. Elsewhere in the state, totals of 2 1/2 to 5 inches should be common. There will likely be a band of heavier rain, reaching 6+ inches. This is most likely to be from south central into central Arkansas, but there is some chance it could end up being somewhat farther east, affecting eastern and southeastern parts of the state.
I will issue the next message Friday morning.
Warning Coordination Meteorologist
National Weather Service, Little Rock
Office Web site: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lzk