The tornado that struck early Monday morning had an unusually large width for a tornado. In fact it’s the second largest tornado width since record keeping started back in the 1950s.
The tornado is the widest on record for the county at 2,640 yards or 1.5 miles. The previous widest (in Benton County) occurred on March 12th, 2006 at 700 yards and was rated an EF3.
In our area, this would be the widest on record second only to the Altus Denning EF4 Tornado with a width of 2,200 yards (1.25 miles) and a length of 45.71 miles. In the state of Arkansas, the 2011 Vilonia Tornado is currently the widest at 1.64 miles across.
The longest track tornado to hit Benton County happened on June 11th, 1970. It was on the ground for 51.8 miles. This tornado originated in Oklahoma and moved across Washington and then into Benton County.
The longest track tornado in Arkansas was the Atkins Tornado which was on the ground for 122 miles! This was an EF4 on February 5th, 2008. The so called “Super Tuesday” Outbreak.
Damage surveys continue from this storms and it’s likely the NWS could revise the distance, width, or intensity in the coming days.