SPC Stats

Path length: 49 miles

Width:  250 yards

Fatalities:  5

Injuries:  60

Rating:  F2

County:  Saline, Pulaski, Lonoke, Prairie

Per the SPC Database, a total of 44 tornadoes were confirmed on November 15, 1988.  Three were rated F3 and per Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes, the tornado we are looking at in this summary should also have been rated F3.  Officially though, it was given an F2 rating.  It had a long, skipping path of 49 miles.  

The tornado began near US Highway 167 in eastern Saline County.  It moved NE north of Wrightsville destroying two homes.  The tornado moved across the Arkansas River and over the western end of Old River Lake.  Randall and Kristi Dycus and their infant son, Waylon were killed in a mobile home off Old River Drive.

As the tornado pressed through Scott, it destroyed 20 mobile homes and 20+ houses.  50 of the total 60 injuries occurred in Scott.

The tornado then took aim at Lonoke.  It passed through the NW side of town destroying 12 homes and damaging 60 more.  There was significant damage to a major department store, a grocery store and a grain silo.  

The twister moved over Interstate 40.  Robert and Juanita McCain were killed as the van they were driving was picked up and thrown.  

The survey found the final damage in the Hickory Plains area.  Several trees were downed.

Here is a newspaper clip about the 5 fatalities from this tornado event:

Storm Data Entry

A killer tornado of F2 intensity ripped a path 43 miles long through four counties in central Arkansas.  Through the twister was not on the ground the entire time, damage of 15 million dollars resulted, most occurring at Scott and Lonoke.  

The storm initially touched down near US Highway 167 in the extreme eastern end of Saline County.  The storm moved northeast and passed just north of Wrightsville, destroying two homes and damaging five others.  Two people were injured.  The storm then crossed the Arkansas River and crossed over the western end of Old River Lake. Substantial damage occurred on Old River Drive with three fatalities (all in a mobile home). 

The storm then passed over Highway 161 and damage became light and spotty.  In Scott, over 20 houses and 20 mobile homes were destroyed.  Fifty injuries, some serious, occurred in and around Scott.  The tornado then headed northeast toward Lonoke.  Between Scott and Lonoke, the tornado lifted from the ground at times as the damage path was not continuous.  Just west of Lonoke, the tornado heavily damaged a minnow farm. Passing through the northwest side of Lonoke, the tornado destroyed another 12 homes and damaged 60 more. Significant damage occurred to an apartment complex, a major department store, a grocery store, and to a large grain silo. 

As the tornado passed over Interstate 40, two more people were killed as the van they were driving was picked up and thrown.  Damage in Lonoke totaled 10 million dollars.  The storm continued off to the northeast, heavily damaging several farms.  The last damage from the tornado occurred in the Hickory Plains area of extreme northwest Prairie County where several trees were downed.

Tornado Path

SPC coordinates:  Start: 34.50 / -92.35      End: 34.98 / -91.73

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Newspaper Clippings

Clipped from USArkansasBlythevilleBlytheville Courier NewsNovember 16, 1988 via newspapersarchive.com

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the November 1988 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • Storm Data lists a path length of 43 miles.
  • Remaining sources have a 49 mile path.

Rating:

  • Grazulis has an F3 rating.
  • Remaining sources have an F2 rating.

      Sources:

      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      November 1988 Storm Data Publication

      newspapers.com

      newspaperarchive.com

      Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1284.

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