On this edition, the blog will focus on some of the storm survey results from the March 31st, 2023 tornado outbreak across Arkansas, Tennessee and northern Mississippi. Given the numerous of tornadoes that had occurred on this day, I want to focus on the EF-3 tornadoes that impacted the region. This area was one of two areas that got hit hard on this day and does hit close to home for me as well, since I am from this area. Also, the results of these storm surveys are considered preliminary at this time and information of these results could change pending any additional data or reports that might be provided. At the end of the blog, additional links will be provided where more information and details can be found regarding the March 31st, 2023 tornadoes and damages.
Little Rock, AR EF-3 Tornado
Around 2:20 PM CDT, one of many significant tornadoes had touched down just to the southwest of Little Rock, north of Bryant, AR. The began heading towards the metro area but not before crossing through the Arkansas River on I-430. After crossing the river, the tornado continued into Sherwood and Jacksonville, AR before finally dissipating just south of Cabot, AR around 3:00 PM CDT.
According to the NWS Little Rock, the hardest hit areas were Nappa Valley Drive, North Shackleford Road, Walnut Valley Drive and the city of Jacksonville, AR. The tornado was on the ground for approximately 34 miles with a max width of 600 miles and estimated peak winds of about 165 mph. As seen in the photo above, the tornado not only went through a metro area, but it had traveled over hills and other terrain features. I pointed this out because this proved that tornadoes can travel through cities, rivers hills and mountainous terrain. In fact, as I will get to later, this was not the only tornado to cross a river on this day. Sadly, this tornado did caused 1 death and several injuries.
Wynne, AR EF-3 Tornado
The same storm cell that produced the Little Rock, AR Tornado, had dropped its second tornado of the day, just outside of Wynne, AR. The tornado had touched down around 4:30 PM CDT and was on the ground for about 73 miles with a max width of 1,600 yards. The town of Wynne, AR took a direct from this monster tornado as the storm tracked towards the northeast. NWS Memphis, TN had estimated wind speeds of 150 mph. This storm was on the ground for about an hour and a half. While the tornado was the ground, similarly to the Little Rock Tornado, this tornado ended up crossing the Mississippi River before tracking into Tennessee. Just as with the Little Rock Tornado, this also had caused several injuries and proved to be deadly.
Covington EF-3 Tornado
As the Wynne, AR Tornado was dissipating, the same supercell had dropped a third tornado of the day around 6:00 PM CDT. This tornado was on the ground for about 39 miles with a max width of 2,000 yards. Estimated winds with this storm was identical to the Wynne, AR Tornado of winds around 150 mph. Unfortunately this tornado had also claimed a life and injured a little over than 12 dozen people.
Something to note with this storm particularly, this tornado had dropped east of the bluffs and did significant damage to the town of Covington, TN. There is a myth around this area of Tennessee that the bluffs protects the cities along the Mississippi River from tornadoes. Added to the fact there is a misconception that tornadoes can’t crossed rivers, it provides people a false sense of security. At this point, two different tornadoes, both significant had traveled through hills, rivers and even through a major city. It is important to understand that tornadoes can traveled and tracked through these different geographic locations.
Adamsville EF-3 Tornado
One of the hardest hit areas of this tornado outbreak was Adamsville, TN. This tornado was the deadliest tornado of the entire region as it claimed 9 lives and injured about dozen more. This tornado had touched down around 11:04 PM CDT and continued until 12:37 AM CDT April 1st, 2023. One of the many reasons why this tornado claimed so many more lives than the previous ones, is the time of day. Especially around the Southeast, the night-time tornadoes tend to be the most deadly due to the fact that most people are either in bed asleep, unable to visually see the tornado, and lastly people are not use to tornadoes happening at night. The tornado was on the ground for approximate 86 miles and had a max width of 1,400 yards. This tornado also had estimated wind speeds of about 155 mph.
Given the numerous of tornadoes that impacted the region, I was unable to go through each one individual as I did with the ones mentioned in the blog. From this event alone, there were 14 tornadoes that had impacted the NWS Memphis, TN area (does not include the Little Rock Tornado). With three of the tornadoes being EF-3 (again not including the Little Rock Tornado), five EF-2 tornadoes, two EF-1 tornadoes, three EF-0 tornadoes and one EF-U tornado.
I do want to take a quick second why there is an EF-U. The EF-U means that the rating of the tornado is unknown. When tornadoes are rated, they used damage indicators to assign a tornado rating and estimate wind speeds. In this case, there were no damage indicators present. Due to the lack of damage indicators, the tornado gets assigned an EF-U rating since they are unable to assigned a rating. As stated earlier, additional links will be provided below regarding specific details, information and potential more photographs of the March 31st 2023 Tornado Outbreak across Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi.