Van Buren Severe Watches & Warnings NOAA Weather Radio

Winter Storm Watch
Statement as of 2:02 PM CST on March 02, 2015

... Winter Storm Watch remains in effect from Wednesday afternoon
through late Wednesday night...

A Winter Storm Watch remains in effect from Wednesday afternoon
through late Wednesday night.

* Event... sleet and snow will spread across the state from north
to south on Wednesday. Wintry precipitation will initially start
as sleet before quickly transitioning to snow. Freezing
precipitation will be less than a tenth of an inch. Snow amounts
will be from 2 to 4 inches with isolated higher amounts.

* Areas affected... locations north of a line from Mena... to
Little Rock... to Clarendon.

* Timing... a brief period of sleet will begin by midday
Wednesday and quickly transition to snow before the evening
hours... with snow continuing through late Wednesday night or
early Thursday morning.

* Impacts... accumulating snow will likely cause travel issues on
area roadways.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A Winter Storm Watch means there is a potential for significant
snow... sleet... or ice accumulations that may impact travel.
Continue to monitor the latest forecasts.

Public Information Statement
Statement as of 2:00 PM CST on March 2, 2015

... Todays topic for severe weather awareness week is

Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson has proclaimed the week of
March 1st through 7th as severe weather awareness week
in Arkansas.

A different topic will be discussed each day... and todays topic
is thunderstorms.

At any given moment around the world... approximately 1800
thunderstorms are occurring. Although thunderstorms are relatively
small... when considered on a global scale of weather... all
thunderstorms are dangerous. Lightning... flash floods... hail...
straight-line winds... and tornadoes all result from thunderstorms.

A thunderstorm is considered severe when it produces winds of at
least 58 mph... or hail at least 1 inch in diameter /the size of a

Straight-line winds produced by thunderstorms caused four deaths
across the state last year. Altogether... there were 18 instances
of thunderstorm gusts of at least 80 mph locally in 2014.

The strongest thunderstorm winds were reported on October 13th.
On that day... 90 to 95 mph gusts occurred near rocky and Hatfield.

Large hail... on average... causes over one billion dollars in
damage /property and crops/ in the United States each year. Some
injuries due to large hail occur in this country each year... but
deaths from hail are relatively rare. Animals fare far worse than

The largest hailstones reported in Arkansas during 2014 occured
on April 3rd. On that day... three inch diameter hail was reported
near Landis in Searcy County... with two and a half inch diameter
hail around Big Flat and Henderson... which are both in Baxter
County... and Wideman in Izard County.

Lightning is a hazard in all thunderstorms... whether they are
severe or not. Whenever thunder is heard... there is lightning
nearby. Lightning is deadly... with 2 arkansans killed and
10 injured in 2014.

Flash floods are another thunderstorm hazard. Vehicles driven
into flooded areas result in the greatest number of flash flood
deaths. Fortunately... there were no flash flood fatalities in
Arkansas last year.

Occasionally... thunderstorms spawn tornadoes. Most of these
are produced in the Spring and fall during the afternoon and
evening. There are 33 tornadoes in a typical year. There were
20 tornadoes locally in 2014... and these resulted in
17 fatalities.

Across the country... the top three deadliest thunderstorm
hazards in the last 30 years years were flash floods...
tornadoes and lightning /in that order/.

... Some thunderstorm safety rules...

Know the difference between a watch and a warning. The National
Weather Service issues watches when conditions are favorable for
the development of severe weather. Warnings are reserved for
cases where severe weather is imminent or occurring.

Make sure that you have a source to receive the latest
information... such as NOAA Weather Radio all hazards...
commercial radio... TV stations or cable TV. Other sources of
warning information can include telephone notification services
to which people subscribe... pagers and cell phones.

Remember... if you can hear thunder... you are in danger from
lightning. Go indoors immediately. If you are in the water...
get out immediately. Boaters should head inland.

Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity.
Do not use electrical appliances during a thunderstorm.
Do not use corded phones... except in emergencies.

Stay out of the bathtub or shower.

Get off The Golf Course. Stay away from metal fences and


Notes for the news media...
there will not be a formal tornado drill this year conducted
by the National Weather Service in Little Rock. Even so...
people are encouraged to practice going to a place of safety
when the NOAA Weather Radio alarm is sounded during the routine
weekly test. This test is on Wednesday between 11 am and noon.
In the event of threatening weather on Wednesday... the test
is postponed until the next good weather day.

For a list of all the tornadoes and other significant weather
events that occurred in 2014...