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The following is the latest severe weather outlook from the National Weather Service in Little Rock. In preparation for the potential of severe weather, please take some time and review the severe weather procedures in the Building Emergency Plans.  Please visit http://uca.edu/mysafety/bep/ for more information regarding the BEP’s.

The National Weather Service Storm Predicition Center has placed much of the northwest half of Arkansas under an enhanced risk for severe thunderstorms on Tuesday, February 28th.

A cold front will approach the region from the west on Tuesday. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will develop ahead of the front on Tuesday afternoon and night. Some storms could become severe.

With cold air moving in aloft, and a high amount of wind energy in the atmosphere, any severe storms would be capable of producing large hail and damaging winds. There will also be a risk of tornadoes, and this would be primarily with storms out ahead of the front.

On Tuesday afternoon and night, the area of greatest concern for severe thunderstorms will be mostly north of a line from Mena, to Arkadelphia, to Pine Bluff, to West Memphis.

The risk of severe thunderstorms will continue into early Wednesday morning, as a squall line forms along or ahead of the cold front. Damaging wind gusts will be the primary concern with any severe storms. The threat of severe thunderstorms will diminish as the cold front passes.

On Wednesday, the area of greatest concern for any severe storms will be in eastern Arkansas, primarily east of an El Dorado to West Memphis line.

The severe weather threat will end from west to east during the early morning hours Wednesday, as the cold front moves across. The front is expected to be east of the Mississippi River by mid day.

Some Key Points to Remember…
1. There will be a threat of night time tornadoes. It is important to maintain a heightened state of awareness, and be prepared to take action if a watch or warning is issued for your area.

2. The scope of the severe weather threat will all depend on how much warming occurs ahead of the frontal boundary on Tuesday. While many of the primary ingredients are there (moisture, lift, shear), if the clouds don’t break ahead of the front, the atmosphere could stay capped. This would act to lessen the threat of cells developing out ahead of the front.

Keep in mind that this forecast is based on the latest model data. Forecasters will continue to monitor and assess the situation, and adjust the forecast as necessary. Continue to monitor the latest forecasts from your National Weather Service Forecast Office.