DECEMBER 29, 2005 - Posted at 4:40 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The National Weather Service reports that double the number of tornadoes hit Arkansas this year. But the local forecasters also were able to warn residents of the impending twisters with an average 73 percent more time than elsewhere in the nation.
As of today, weather service records show 52 tornadoes struck Arkansas during 2005 causing three fatalities and 31 injuries. The normal number for an Arkansas year is 26 tornadoes and four fatalities.
Forecasters said this year's high total comes from two separate tornado outbreaks. One on November 27 that spawned 24 tornadoes and a second that saw 15 tornadoes touch down as the remnants of Hurricane Rita moved across Arkansas in September.
The National Weather Service's warning system statewide gave Arkansans more time to respond to the increased number of tornadoes. Nationally the weather service targets at least 13 minutes from the time a tornado warning is issued until the twister touches down, but in Arkansas that average time was 22-and-a-half minutes, giving residents an extra nine minutes to respond. That's 73 percent more time than average.