Weather team investigates storm damage

The storms that rolled through Southeast Arkansas early Wednesday night caused some damage in the region and authorities are searching for evidence of a possible tornado near the Pine Bluff Arsenal.

A survey crew with the National Weather Service inspected several areas for proof of a tornado and assessed estimated strength throughout the day Thursday and will continue on Friday with an investigation of a possible tornado that was tracked on radar from just west of Sheridan in Grant County to near the Dexter Gate of the arsenal in Jefferson County.

Statewide, the most substantial damage was reported at Clarendon in Monroe County. The NWS team confirmed Thursday that an EF1 tornado swept through that community at 7:40 p.m. Wednesday.

“Our survey crew measured the track of the tornado at one quarter of a mile in length,” said NWS meteorologist Marty Trexler. “A number of power lines and power poles were downed as well as large trees. Power was out to the whole town after the storm came through Clarendon. A roof was blown off of a barber shop but there were no injuries associated with that tornado in Clarendon.”

Trexler said that the Clark County community of Caddo Valley received one inch diameter hail.

“A strong cold front moved through the area Wednesday and there was plenty of moisture as well as wind energy at both the lower and upper levels of the atmosphere,” Trexler said of the ingredients that led to the storms. “The atmosphere destabilized to the east and south of Little Rock Wednesday afternoon into the evening.”

Additional damage reported by the NWS included downed power lines and tree limbs as well as a billboard torn apart near Dermott in Chicot County at 9:55 p.m.; several trees blown down three miles east of Hamburg in Ashley County at 8:47 p.m.; more trees downed at 9:07 p.m. five miles south southeast of Crossett in Ahsley County; and a couple of trees down in Lake Chicot State Park along Highway 257 three miles east northeast of Lake Village in Chicot County at 9:32 p.m.