MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Several counties in the News Channel 3 viewing area have been upgraded to a HIGH RISK of severe weather arriving this afternoon and evening. Tornadoes are likely to occur in intense supercells, along with life-threatening winds, excessive rain, and large hail.
A Tornado Watch has been issued for several counties in the News Channel 3 viewing area until Mar 31, 8:00 PM CDT or later. Tornado Warnings
UPDATE: Damage has been reported in Cross County, AR as a result of severe weather. WREG will update as more information becomes available.
The Wynne Police Chief said that the town has suffered “total destruction” and that numerous people are trapped. Data shows thousands of residents without power, per Entergy.
Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has already declared a state of emergency in Arkansas saying the following:
“Here at the Capitol I just signed an executive order declaring that a State of Emergency exists in the State of Arkansas due to today’s severe weather. We will spare no resource to assist with response and recovery efforts for Arkansans impacted.”
Governor Sanders has also activated the Arkansas National Guard to help with recovery and relief efforts.
The follow Tennessee counties are under a tornado WATCH until 8 p.m.: Crockett, Dyer, Fayette, GIbson, Haywood, Lake, Lauderdale, Obion, Shelby, Tipton, Weakley.
UPDATE: Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) has suspended services starting at 5 p.m. in anticipation of severe weather.
MLGW provided the following statement: Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division is preparing for severe weather as the National Weather Service is forecasting damaging winds and tornados in the Mid-South this evening. Impacts to the MLGW service area may include power outages, tree damage, and travel difficulties. MLGW crews and additional contract crews are ready to respond to any local damage or outages. Customers are also asked to visit MLGW’s storm readiness guide for tips on preparing for weather
Below is WREG’s weather forecast as of Friday evening:
The Storm Prediction Center has placed much of the Mid-South in a HIGH RISK category for severe weather this afternoon into the evening hours. This is a rare designation and all modes of severe weather are expected during this time period. The possibility of long track tornadoes exists along with damaging straight-line winds. This is an extremely dangerous scenario playing out in the next few hours and travel is highly discouraged. Stay with News Channel 3 on air and online for continuing updates. We’ll be tracking the storms to keep you and your family safe.
Tonight, showers and thunderstorms with severe weather are expected. Low tonight 56 with gusty southwesterly winds at 12-25 mph with gusts around 40 mph or higher.
Saturday and Sunday will feature sunny skies both days with highs in the mid to upper 60s and overnight lows in the low 40s to mid 50s.
Rain returns Monday with a high near 76 and an overnight low of 67.
The National Weather Service of Memphis made the following predictions:
Primary hazards include Damaging winds and tornadoes. Secondary threats are large hail, heavy rain, and isolated flash, urban and small stream flooding.
Winds outside of thunderstorms on Friday could pose a threat. A Wind Advisory was issued for the entire forecast area on Friday.
Alamo: Storm shelter sits directly behind Alamo City Park.
Manila: The elementary safe room will be open after school hours to all community members that would like to shelter from the weather.
Marked Tree: Storm shelters will be open at the elementary and high school by 2:30. Enter the elementary school storm shelter through the main entrance and enter the high school through the auditorium (the old entrance).
Armorel: Our safe room will open at 5:00 p.m. for anyone in need of shelter. Please park in the elementary parking lot and come in through the elementary entrance. Please be advised that we are continuing to monitor this severe weather threat and the timing may change as the weather moves in.
Jonesboro: Safe room at MacArthur will be open to those that need it at 2:00 p.m.
Wilson: Rivercrest School District will open the elementary school as a safe location for the public starting at 4:00 p.m. Please park in the west parking lot of the elementary and enter the west doors.
In the event of a tornado, the safe rooms at Marion Performing Arts (formerly Avondale Elementary School), located at 1402 Crestmere St. in West Memphis, and ASU Mid-South, located at 2000 W. Broadway in West Memphis, are on alert and will be available if needed.
WM and Marion schools will be dismissing at 1:30 pm. This will allow full use of shelters since students will not be on campus.
The Mid-South Red Cross is on alert to assist with sheltering needs.
Alcorn County: The basement of the Courthouse will be open tonight if anyone needs a storm shelter.
Marshall County: No public shelters.
Coahoma County: Coahoma Community College with capacity for 1600.
Desoto County: Walls Elementary, Hope Sullivan Elementary, Horn Lake Elementary, and Lewisburg Elementary will open at 4:00 p.m.
Southaven Community Safe Room 7312 Highway 51 N, Southaven, MS 38671.
Hernando Elementary 455 Riley Street, Hernando MS 38632.
Olive Branch Elementary 9549 Pigeon Roost Road Olive Branch MS 38654
Hope Sullivan Elementary 7985 Southaven Circle West, Southaven, MS 38671
Lewisburg Elementary 1717 Craft Road Olive Branch, MS 38654
Walls Elementary 6131 Delta View Rd. Walls, MS 38680
Lafayette County Community Shelter Locations: LCFD Central Station – 50 County Road 1032 (Across from North Pointe) , LCFD Station 1 – 599 Highway 310 (Harmontown), Harmontown Community Center County Road 504, LCFD Station 2 – 254 Highway 30, LCFD Station 3 – 22 County Road 369 (Near Hwy 7 / Hwy 9 Split), LCFD Station 4 – 8 County Road 130 (College Hill), LCFD Station 5 – 826 Highway 334 (Yocona), LCFD Station 6 – 153 County Road 436 (Tula), LCFD Station 7 – 44 Business 7 South (Abbeville), LCFD Station 9 – 65 County Road 335 (Taylor), LCFD Station 11 – 11 County Road 287 (Lafayette Springs), LCFD Station 12 – 1301 Highway 30 (Philadelphia), LCFD Station 14 – 31 County Road 430 (Paris), LCFD Station 15 – 4 County Road 109 (Highway 6 West), LCFD Station 16 – 823 County Road 313 (Union West), Taylor Community Center 78 County Road 338, Gordon Community Center 37 County Road 115 (South of Abbeville), New EL Bethel Church 20 County Road 488. Oxford Utilities Parking Lot, Oxford Activity Center, Oxford Recycling Center (Next to OPD), Oxford Fire Department Station Three, Oxford Fire Department Station Four
Madison County: The airport safe room will be open to the public. It sits in front of Building (Hanger) #6. It holds approximately 80 persons per FEMA guidelines.
Haywood County: Haywood Co Justice Complex, Haywood Jr High School, Haywood Elementary School.
Stanton residents: Stanton Baptist Church.
Lauderdale County: 254 Jefferson St Ripley, TN 38063, Ripley High School Math Building, enter school property off Jefferson Street, 279 Wardlow St Gates, TN 38037, Gates Community Center. 501 Carman St Halls, TN 38040, Between Halls High School and Elementary School.
Shelby County: Arlington’s safe room is located at 11842 Otto Lane and is remotely unlocked during a Tornado Warning.
Dyersburg: Dyersburg High School, Hwy 51 By-Pass. Across the street from Dyersburg Fire Station 1 on Church Street.
Newbern: Newbern Elementary school, on Washington Street and Newbern City Courtroom, on Shuck Alley.
McNairy County: There are storm shelters in Milledgeville, Finger, and the basement of the courthouse.
Bolivar: No public shelters.
The City of West Memphis is offering sandbags FREE of charge to help residents prepare for the possibility of heavy rainfall. Residents can pick up sandbags from the following locations –
West Memphis City Shop: 511 East Jackson, West Memphis
West Memphis Fire Station No. 5: 713 W. Barton, West Memphis