March 27, 2021  
Friday night, and my son Ryan invited me to go on a wildlife photography trip with him on the following day.  I was thinking more along the line of going on a storm trip.  Well, we ended up compromising.  Storms were forecasted in Arkansas, so we left early to do some wildlife hunting in Southeast Arkansas before the anticipated tornadic storms initiated.  Got down there and in the afternoon I was pleased to see my first ever Alligators in the wild.

After taking the wildlife tour, storms began to develop in the early evening.  We had several cells forming in a broken line from Northeast Arkansas south-southwestward.  We worked our way westward from our location in Southeast Arkansas near the Mississippi River to Star City, Arkansas to position ourselves on a developing cell in the line.  At this point, we were well out in front of the cell to the southwest to give it time to mature.  As we looked at the map, we could see that the highway we were on, Highway 79, would be going the same direction as the storm as long as the storm maintained the same course.  The concern was, if the storm began to turn just a little east, it could cut off our only bridge to the north over the Arkansas River at Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  Ryan and I made the decision to go re-position north of that bridge at Pine Bluff, Arkansas prior to the storm's arrival and not take the chance of being cut off.

We continued to work our way northeastward on Highway 79 staying out in front of the maturing storm stopping on multiple occasions to watch.  Storms further northeast of us were now Tornado warned, so the hope was, this storm would follow suit.  It was given a Severe Thunderstorm Warning and began showing a couplet as we continued to stay out in front of the storm.

As the storm continued to move toward us, we positioned to get a good look. The new concern was now, could this storm produce a tornado before the light of the day was completely gone.

The storm was slow to develop and we continued to move northeastward ahead of the storm.  In the last of the daylight, the storm finally went Tornado Warned.  We positioned ourselves to watch the storm go by in a last attempt at seeing a daylight tornado.

The Tornado Warned storm went by us without producing a tornado and now we were behind it as it continued northeast. The daylight faded away and now the only light was provided by the storm's lightning.

As we approached the town of Marianna, Arkansas, right over the road directly in front of us we witnessed a power flash.  A lightning flash 19 seconds later revealed the reason as an elongated funnel hung down from the cloud. 

As we drove on through town, we came across an area along the road with no electricity and saw a lot of tree debris laying all over the road further confirming that the funnel was at the ground level.  No other damage was seen.

We continued following the storm and as we got out of town with a clear view of the storm again, we could no longer find the funnel.  The couplet we had seen on radar had disappeared and the Tornado Warning was then dropped.  We began our long drive back home.

Our Travel Route

19.5 Hours - 938 Miles

Click on the link below to see video of some of these storms.

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