National Weather Service predicting severe storms for Northwest Arkansas

According to pretty much every meteorologist that covers the Northwest Arkansas region, there are some nasty storms headed our way tonight (May 24).

The National Weather Service out of Tulsa has issued a “Hazardous Weather Outlook” for the area, 5 News issued a warning for “strong tornadoes possible Tuesday,” and the 40/29 Weather Blog warns of a “severe weather outbreak.”

In other words, things might get weird.

Here’s an excerpt from the warning issued by the National Weather Service this morning.

A widespread and potentially life threatening severe weather episode is expected to unfold later this afternoon and evening across Eastern Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas. The weather pattern is highly favorable for long track supercells capable of strong or violent tornadoes, softball size hail, and winds in excess of 70 mph. These storms will develop across Western and Central Oklahoma by mid afternoon, and spread eastward during late afternoon and evening.

A strong upper level system will be moving into the southern plains with an extremely unstable airmass in place over much of Central an Eastern Oklahoma. Scattered thunderstorms are expected to develop along the dry line across Western and Central Oklahoma later this afternoon and become severe very quickly. Forecast wind profiles are extremely favorable for long lived supercells capable of producing tornadoes. Stoms 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 and overnight period.

Additionally, dangerous flooding remains ongoing over parts of Northwest Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas due to heavy rainfall Monday. Any additional significant rain will aggravate ongoing flooding issues.

In addition, the City of Fayetteville issued a release to remind residents of the following emergency procedures in the event that a tornado does occur in the area.

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.

More information on tornadoes can be found at the Federal Emergency Management Association website.