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March 10, 2010 - Arkansas Tornadic Storms

I started out in Eastern Oklahoma...gave up and made a huge trek to make a play on the storms coming out of SW Arkansas. It worked... no tornado (probably) though. I knew it was going to be a close call but it appeared that I could make it to Little Rock just prior to the storm. I made it to Little Rock just in time. I got to Jct I-640 and I-430 and within just moments I was able to see the meso/updraft and then the lowering which extended pretty much all the way to the ground. I couldnt tell whether or not it was a tornado or not. The only way I was sure was that there were no power flashes. I then continued NE along Hwy 67. I was able to get ahead and intercept the storm again West of Beebe. When the base first became visible it was nice but it became disorganized and new storms were firing around. I figured the storm was done and began taking lightning pictures. After about 10-15 minutes I noticed the little storms had coalesced back into an individual storm and with a lightning strike I was able to see a nice lowering with something hanging all the way to the ground. This lowering would have been just a few miles SE of Center Hill so its quite possible I could have been seeing that tornado forming or the tornado itself. I started rushing back NE on 67 and within just a few moments the tornado warning was issued. I was a little behind it so I couldnt intercept until up near Pleasant Plains. The storm again looked to be decreasing in intensity so I turned around and headed down to Center Hill to see how bad the damage was. I was the first media type person on the scene and they wouldnt let me into the area due to downed power lines (the electric companies had yet to arrive). After a bit I found another way in and found some damage. After the electricty was made sure to be off I was able to get into town. It was pretty tore up. The damage survey will likely find it to be EF-2 or high EF-1. Thanks to David Drummond (and Kendra Reed) of Dryline Media for helping and working so hard!

Vid Capture, 1st pic of the storm showing the meso structure and Pic that was used on TV

I can use a little practice apparently in shooting pictures in big cities! Ill have to make sure to shorten my exposures down even further next time so as to avoid having that annoying reddish tint to the clouds.



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