The 2019 Prescott, Arkansas tornado was a highly destructive, long-tracked EF4 tornado which cut a path through southern Arkansas in the evening of Sunday, March 17, 2019. The tornado was part of a larger weather system that affected the "Dixie Alley" region of the United States between March 17 and March 19, producing a total of 76 tornadoes, three of which were rated EF4. The Prescott tornado was the deadliest of the year 2019 and the deadliest in the state of Arkansas since the Vilonia, Arkansas tornado of April 27, 2014, causing a total of 11 deaths and 126 injuries.
The tornado remained on the ground for 55 minutes over a 56.30-mile path, and caused high-end EF4 damage while at peak strength, making it the first violent tornado in Arkansas since 2014. The tornado's final rating was a source of some controversy, with at least one damage survey team concluding EF5 damage in Prescott. The tornado was officially rated EF4 based on the lack of prominent wind-rowing of debris, debarking of trees, or severe mangling of cars and trucks that were tossed.
The tornado was produced by a high-precipitation supercell and remained very heavily wrapped in rain over the majority of its 56-mile path. As a result, no photos or videos of the tornado were captured, and many in the path of the parent supercell were unaware of the tornado's existence. Nine of the 11 people killed in the tornado were not in storm shelters or safe rooms when the tornado struck; two people were killed in vehicles, and a third man was caught outside while running to his storm shelter. The tornado's high fatality-to-injury rate was attributed to the fact that many in its path were caught off-guard and unable to take shelter in time.
Casualties and impact