I've been reading a copy of "Severe Weather in Arkansas 2007" published by the National Weather Service in Little Rock. It's interesting reading. What amazed me was how many times our area -- Fulton, Sharp or Izard County -- was listed in the pamphlet for major weather events of 2006. So, here's some facts you might find interesting.
According to the National Weather Service Arkansas has seen 1,659 tornadoes since 1950. Of those confirmed tornadoes there have been 357 deaths.
Pulaski County is number one in confirmed tornadoes with 66 and White County is close behind with 60. In addition, White County leads the list with 59 tornado deaths since 1950.
In our area since 1950, Sharp County has had 18 tornadoes and 0 deaths, Fulton County has seen 20 tornadoes and 4 deaths and Izard County has had 22 tornadoes and 2 deaths.
In 2006, there were 25 tornadoes in Arkansas with no tornado deaths, but there were 70 reported injuries. Most of the tornadoes (16) were spawned in March and April.
On March 12 at 12:41 a.m., a weak F0 (40-72 mph) tornado touched down 1.8 miles southwest of Byron (Fulton County) and continued for 1.5 miles to .3 miles southwest of Byron.
April 2 was a night that's a little hard to forget. At 4:59 p.m. a weak F1 (73-112 mph) tornado left a 9.5 mile path from 2.8 miles southwest of Williford to 3 miles east of Ravenden (Sharp and Lawrence counties). That same day at 5:37 p.m., the storm system produced a strong F3 (158-206 mph) tornado left a 77-mile path of destruction from Pocahontas to Caruthersville, Mo. In Arkansas, 47 people (over half of the total for the year) were injured and damage was estimated at $26 million. In Missouri, two people were killed, 130 people were injured and damage was estimated at $61.5 million.
The next tornado listed in our area was Sept. 22 at 6:15 p.m. when a weak F1 (73-112 mph) tornado touched down 1.4 miles southeast of Franklin and continued 3.7 miles to 1 mile south-southeast of Myron (Izard County). Seven minutes later at 6:22 p.m. a strong F2 (113-157 mph) left a 14 mile path beginning 5 miles east of Saddle to 11 miles northwest of Dalton (Fulton, Sharp and Randolph counties). Among the storm damage was a home 8.5 miles south of Mammoth Spring.
On Nov. 10 at 4:59 p.m. a weak F1 (73-112 mph) tornado touched down 2.2 miles west-northwest of Salem to 3.5 miles north of Saddle (Fulton County) with a path of 13.3 miles.
For damage by thunderstorms with straight-line winds Fulton County is once again listed. On June 21 at Mammoth Spring straight-line winds measuring 81 mph caused damage to trees and property.
On April 2, 2006 3-inch diameter hail was reported at Byron in Fulton County and at Ash Flat in Sharp County. Not recorded -- but we know for a fact it happened -- was baseball size and larger hail in the Glencoe area of Fulton County, and in the Cherokee Village and Hardy area of Sharp County. We have the pictures to prove it, don't we? The National Weather Service reports hail with a 2.75 inch diameter in Cherokee Village and in Franklin (Izard County).
Flash floods took two lives in Arkansas in 2006. Both deaths occurred during the early morning hours of Sept. 23 in Sharp County. Roughly 7-inches of rain fell in a 12-hour period in the Hardy area. A 55-year-old male was killed when his recreational vehicle was washed out of a campground on the Spring River near Hardy. A 16-year-old male was killed when the pickup truck in which he was riding was washed off Martin Creek Road 2 miles northeast of Williford.
Lightning -- we didn't make this list in 2006. But, lightning was responsible for three deaths and six injuries in Arkansas.
Pretty amazing facts. Let's hope and pray 2007 for Sharp, Izard and Fulton counties isn't nearly as noteworthy as 2006 was.
If you'd like to read more information about the 2006 severe weather in Arkansas, go to www.srh.noaa.gov.