For background on this tornado outbreak, please see my diary from earlier today.
The SPC has issued a "Particularly Dangerous Situation" Tornado Watch for parts of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee until midnight CST as a line of storms continues to build up and move east across Arkansas. "Particularly Dangerous Situation" is enhanced wording added to a tornado watch to indicate the higher-than-normal potential for large, destructive, long-track tornadoes in any of the stronger storms tonight.
This is an extremely dangerous situation not only because of the intensity of the tornadoes, but because this is happening overnight. 2.5x more people die in nighttime tornado outbreaks than they would if the storms were to occur during the day, because 1) most people don't get warnings if they're asleep, and 2) it's a sad fact that people try to look for tornadoes to see it for themselves before they take cover, and you can't see a tornado at night. They don't come with built-in nightlights. Keep a very close eye on the weather tonight if you live in Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi or Alabama, as these storms are forecast to grow more violent as the hours pass.
Here's a quick look at the area most at risk for these particularly dangerous tornadoes, which is shaded in red. The yellow area (slight risk for severe t'storms) is also at risk (albeit not as high of a risk) for storms tonight into tomorrow morning.
Jump the fold for the liveblog.
The updates will appear in reverse chronological order -- the top update is the most recent. All times will be Central Standard Time. As this will be an image-heavy diary, I'm making the radars smaller than I have in the past. Click them to enlarge them in their full size.
1121PM CST: Okay, since I can't sleep, one more update. The SPC has issued a new tornado watch encompassing northwestern AL, most of Mississippi north of the 31st parallel, central Tennessee, and extreme eastern Louisiana above the 31st parallel. The line of storms will continue to move east through the night, finally making it to eastern Alabama by rush hour tomorrow morning. The tornado threat is not insignificant (hence the tornado watch), and the storms will hit in two batches. There are individual storms forming out ahead of the main line of storms, which pose the greatest risk for dangerous tornadoes. The second batch of storms is the squall line, which doesn't have the dynamics to support the type of tornadoes supercells would. The tornadoes that form along the line of storms will be quick blink-and-you-miss-it affairs. That being said, all tornadoes are dangerous, and all tornado warnings need to be taken seriously.
Here's the radar as of 1121PM CST, showing the individual storms straddling the Mississippi/Alabama border, with the main squall line hanging back through northwestern Mississippi and western Tennessee.
958PM CST: I spoke too soon. Tornado warning for the City of Memphis and surrounding areas. CONFIRMED TORNADO just southwest of Memphis, moving northeast right into the city. This is a dangerous situation. It's moving at 55 MPH, so you don't have much time to hesitate if you're in the warned area.
945PM CST: There is only one tornado warning left in effect south of Memphis for Tunica MS. Aside from that, the last standalone storm has merged into the squall line, so the major threat now involves straight line winds. There could be a spin-up tornado along the leading edge of the squall line (which is the case with the tornado warning in Tunica MS), but it shouldn't be anything terrible like what we saw in southern Arkansas a few hours ago. While tornadoes along squall lines are dangerous, they don't warrant constant liveblogging like I've been doing here because they're so quick to form and dissipate. (Plus, I need to go to bed).
There is a severe thunderstorm warning along pretty much the entire line of storms from Illinois through Mississippi, and folks in its path can expect damaging winds and large hail as it swings through. Stay safe, and make sure you have a way to receive warnings if you plan on going to bed soon.
Here's the radar as of 945PM CST:
927PM CST: That Fordyce/DeWitt/Cornerstone storm just won't let up -- the rotation is still present in the storm and it's heading straight for Memphis. It looks like it'll come directly over or just east of downtown Memphis if it doesn't get shoved east by the squall line.
If you're in or around Memphis, now is the time to get ready to take immediate emergency precautions to keep yourself safe from a potential tornado.
907PM CST: It looks like the tornado threat may be diminishing as the storms converge into the squall line, but Memphis and environs aren't out of the woods just yet. The long-track storm that has a history of producing tornadoes southeast of Little Rock appears to still have circulation in it, and it's going to get dangerously close to Memphis in an hour or so.
832PM CST: 3D volumetric view of the tornado just west of DeWitt AR, about 45 miles southeast of Little Rock. This is looking at the winds in the storm, and you can see the deep column of rotation in the storm, with what is more than likely a tornado.
826PM CST: The tornadic rotation approaching DeWitt AR is the strongest I've seen since April 27th. This is an extremely dangerous situation. This one will skim just north of DeWitt, but the one just to the south of this storm will directly impact the city.
816PM CST: A new tornado warning has been issued for a strengthening storm in northeastern Arkansas, approaching the western Memphis suburbs. It's about 70 miles southwest of Memphis right now, so it should be in the area around 9-930 PM.
Here are two more very strong rotations south of Pine Bluff and southeast of Little Rock, with the storm near Cornerstone being the one with a history of tornado damage. Both of these rotations have the potential to produce dangerous tornadoes. Tornado warnings in effect for Lincoln, Jefferson, and Arkansas Counties.
805PM CST: There are now two areas with dangerous tornadic development, both southeast of Little Rock. The first is about 25 miles from Little Rock near England AR, with storm spotters reporting a wall cloud (a precursor to tornadoes) in the storm. The second is the storm with a history of producing a destructive tornado, entering Jefferson County AR right now. Cornerstone and Bayou Meto are directly in the path of that intense rotation and probable tornado.
750PM CST: A new tornado warning has been issued southeast of Little Rock, with the tornado moving northeast. The southernmost rotation is the one with a confirmed tornado with "extensive damage" reported as a result.
746PM CST: A new tornado watch is in effect for parts of southern Illinois, southern Indiana, western Kentucky and eastern Missouri until 2AM CST. It's not a PDS watch, but still a dangerous situation.
732PM CST: Law enforcement has confirmed a tornado on the ground in Cleveland County AR approaching Rison. This is the storm I mentioned in the 721 update. This confirmed tornado will continue northeast right through Rison AR, posing a threat to Glendale, Yorktown, Tarry, and eventually southern Jefferson County.
729PM CST: KATV out of Little Rock has live, continuing coverage of the severe weather across Arkansas tonight. You have to sit through a 30 second ad, first, because to hell with safety when there's ad money to be made.
721PM CST: Incredible rotation on the storm in south-central Arkansas impacting Calhoun, Cleveland and Dallas Counties. There is very likely a tornado on the ground south of Ramsey and west of Fordyce, moving towards the northeast at 50 MPH. This likely tornado will hug and soon cross the intersection of US Route 167 and US Route 79.
716PM CST: The storm about 20 miles southeast of Little Rock is gaining strength, with a tornado warning continuing for Pulaski, Lonoke, Jefferson and Grant Counties.
This image displays two views of the same storm -- one showing wind, the other showing precip. The panel on the left shows the base velocity winds...winds moving around in the storms. Green indicates wind moving towards the radar, red indicates wind moving away. Where they come very close to each other near Jefferson AR is where the strongest rotation is located. The panel on the right is a regular radar image.
In addition to the tornado threat, there are tons of reports of large hail coming in from the storms I didn't mention below. Even if they aren't producing tornadoes, they have the potential to create hail larger than golf balls, as well as damaging winds up to and in excess of 80 MPH.
700PM CST: Here's the radar showing the storms stretched southwest to northeast across Arkansas. The yellow boxes are severe thunderstorm warnings, and the red boxes are tornado warnings. There are two tornado warnings at this time, both in south-central Arkansas.
The first tornado warning is in Grant, Jefferson, and Prairie Counties, south of Little Rock. This storm is moving northeast at 55 MPH, and will impact Sheridan, Jefferson, Redfield, Tucker, Sherrill, and England over the next 20-30 minutes. This storm will follow parallel and south of I-40 for the next few hours, and could threaten Memphis by 830-900 PM CST. This is a dangerous storm.