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Hazardous Weather Expected in Northwest Arkansas Tonight.

05/24/2011

The National Weather Service out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has issued a hazardous weather outlook for Northwest and West Central Arkansas, as well as much of Eastern Oklahoma.  The City of Fayetteville asks that you consider these alerts seriously and make needed safety precautions.

A widespread severe weather episode is expected this afternoon and evening across eastern Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas. The developing weather pattern is highly favorable for long track supercells capable of strong tornadoes, large hail, and winds in excess of 70 mph. These storms will develop across central Oklahoma late this afternoon and spread eastward during the evening. By late this afternoon a strong upper level system will be moving out of the southwest U.S. with an unstable airmass in place over much of Central and Eastern Oklahoma. Scattered thunderstorms are expected to develop along the dry line in Central Oklahoma late this afternoon and become severe very quickly.

 Storms will increase in coverage through the evening as they move into Northwest Arkansas with the threat of widespread damaging severe weather continuing late into the evening. In addition, dangerous flooding remains ongoing over parts of Northeast Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas due to heavy rainfall Monday.  Any additional significant rain will only enhance the flooding issues.  Below are emergency procedures in the event of a tornado: 

If you are in a structure:

Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level.  If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls.  Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.  Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.  Do not open windows.

If you are in a vehicle or mobile home:

Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter.  Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.

If you are outside with no shelter:

Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.  Be aware of the potential for flooding.  Do not get under an overpass or bridge.  You are safer in a low, flat location.  Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck.  Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safer shelter.  Watch out for flying debris.  Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries. 

For additional information, please see information from the Federal Emergency Management Association on tornadoes at http://www.fema.gov/hazard/tornado/index.shtm.