Posted on April 16, 2018
Widespread damage was reported to the National Weather Service as a result of storms late Friday and early Saturday.
Thousands of South Arkansas residents remained without power at 11:30 a.m. Saturday after a siege of stormy weather on Friday and early Saturday.
The storm system also raked across North Louisiana. A two-year-old girl was killed at the Hill Crest Mobile Home & RV Park in Haughton when a large tree fell where she was sleeping.
No tornado touchdowns were reported in the area, but power was knocked out to approximately 3,541 Entergy meters in Columbia, Union, Ashley and Chicot counties.
Also, lightning struck the 113-year-old administration building at South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado. The result was a fire in the attic. The blaze was contained but firefighters were still on the scene late Saturday morning.
A literary festival and ACT testing at SouthArk, both set for Saturday, were cancelled.
In Columbia County, about 538 customers were without power in the Calhoun, Talley, Noxobe and Spotville communities south of U.S. 82 east of Magnolia, and the County Road 61-Arkansas 98 area east of Magnolia, including Lydesdale and Laughlin.
There were large but scattered outages in Union County near Mount Holly, Junction City, north of Smackover, Norphlet, east of Catesville and along U.S. 63 from the Old Union community to Moro Bay.
Most service has been restored in Ashley County but the City of Hamburg was without power for a time.
In Chicot County, almost 1,000 customers have no power in the Portland area.
Almost 4,000 Entergy customers in North Louisiana also have no power, mostly in an area along Interstate 20 from Minden east to Monroe and Bastrop.
The weather reporting system at Magnolia Municipal Airport reported wind gusts of more than 40 mph.
While thunderstorms were in the region from early Friday afternoon onward, the major threat to Columbia County arrived in the early hours of Saturday as a tornado warning was issued for the southern half of Columbia County.
The storm system turned deadly in northwest Louisiana, where one child was reported to have been killed when a tree fell on her home in the Haughton area.
The Friday the 13th storm system began as two distinct weather makers – a squall line followed by a dry line of storms.
The squall line led to several severe thunderstorms and scattered tornado warnings that were spread unevenly across the region, but mostly in western Arkansas.
Actions shifted southward to Deep East Texas, Northwest Louisiana and South Arkansas as the dry line – embedded with heavy thunderstorms and tornados, rolled west-to-east across the region.
The National Weather Service in Shreveport issued a severe thunderstorm warning for southern Columbia County at 12:15 a.m. Saturday, followed by a tornado warning for the same area about 12:46 a.m.
magnoliareporter.com recorded 0.92 inches of rain from the storm through about 3 a.m.
Trees and power lines went down along County Road 16 east of Bussey. Numerous trees went down in Junction City and the Faircrest community southeast of El Dorado. A tree fell on a house in Sarepta, LA.
There were confirmed reports of tornadoes. They were in the Winthrop community in Little River County, and in the Umpire area of Howard County, AR; near Sterlington and Downsville in Northeast Louisiana; and near Ore City, TX. Funnel clouds were reported in the Bossier City and Ruston, LA areas.
Thunderstorm damage was widespread.
A lake wind advisory remained in effect until 7 p.m. today.
The storm system will deliver much cooler temperatures. Today's high will be near 60. The overnight low in South Arkansas will be near 35, and may be near freezing on Sunday night.