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Benton County Tornado Second Widest In State History

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BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) — The second tornado that hit Northwest Arkansas on Monday (Oct. 21) morning was the longest continuous-track tornado to start and end in Benton County. It was also the widest to hit Benton County in modern recorded history, according to the National Weather Service.

The tornado, which began about 12:08 a.m. south of Siloam Springs, was tracked continuously at 31.4 miles from Siloam Springs into southeast Avoca. The tornado was on the ground for 30 minutes.

At 1.5 miles wide at its widest point, it was the widest to hit Benton County since record-keeping began in 1950, according to the National Weather Service’s Tulsa office. It is also the longest tornado to start and end in Benton County.

This tornado is the second widest tornado to occur in Arkansas, second only to the Vilonia Tornado of 2011, which was 2,900 yards or 1.64 miles wide. The third widest tornado on record was the 2011 Altus-Denning Tornado, which was 2,200 yards wide or 1.25 miles.

The longest to affect Benton County was a June 1970 tornado that tracked for 50 miles but started in Oklahoma and cut through Washington County before ending in Benton County.

Monday’s tornado was determined to be an EF-1 with winds of 100 to 110 mph. It was one of two to hit Benton County. The first tornado that night started in Adair County, Oklahoma, and was also rated an EF-1 with winds of 90-100 mph. That tornado was 900 yards wide and lasted for 9.1 miles to just southeast of Siloam Springs.

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