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  • Writer's pictureTodd Yakoubian

Extreme Winds July 21st. Why It Happened

As I write this, more than 20 thousand are still without power because a severe thunderstorm moved across the Little Rock metro around 3AM Saturday. At the peak, there were more than 60 thousand Entergy customers without electricity. Many of you are getting power back now and probably wondering what happened.

It was not a tornado. It was severe thunderstorm straight line winds estimated from 80 to 90 mph over a large area. In some ways, it can do more damage than a weak tornado and over a larger area. This is just another example why we always encourage you to take severe thunderstorm warnings seriously.

1. Have a way to receive warnings Whether that's WeatherCall 7 or NOAA weather radio.

2. Know when a watch is in effect and have a plan

3. When a severe thunderstorm warning is issued for your area, stay inside and away from windows.

4. If a tornado warning is issued - go to the lowest level, put as many walls between you and the outside, and make sure that room has no windows. It's also important to have something available to protect your head.

Below are videos and graphics explaining what exactly happened Saturday morning.

Look at the backwards "C" just south of highway 10 in west Little Rock. This is a small bow echo and it traveled southeast. This is where the highest winds were rushing down and out of the severe thunderstorm at speeds of 80-90mph.

Radar velocities around 3:30AM. You must keep in mind the radar is located in North Little Rock. The reds and yellows are winds moving away from the radar. The brighter the color on radar, the higher the winds. You can clearly see two enhanced areas in this image. One near Twin Springs and the other in southwest Little Rock.

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