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The risk of severe weather Saturday has been increased, with the National Weather Service warning of “a potential tornado outbreak to the area.”

The weather service on Friday increased the risk to the Union County area from enhanced to moderate, which is the second highest threat level. The weather service is warning that “a significant severe weather event appears likely” Saturday, with the highest threat being in the afternoon during peak heating hours.

According to the weather service, storms are expected to begin Saturday morning, with large hail and damaging winds being the primary threats. As a northward moving warm front moves in, multiple rounds of severe thunderstorms are expected.

“Tornadoes, damaging winds, large hail, and locally heavy rainfall will be possible,” the weather service stated. “In far east Texas, southern Arkansas, and northern Louisiana, a few of the tornadoes may be strong, long-tracked tornadoes.”

The area is expected to see 1 to 3 inches of rain, which may cause isolated flooding. The weather service noted that the “threat should quickly end shortly after midnight.”

Area organizations cancel events for Saturday

With the weather threat, several area organizations have canceled events planned for Saturday.

The Salvation Army’s Dancing with Our Stars fundraiser originally set for Saturday night has been rescheduled, with Capt. Jason Perdieu saying a new date should be announced next week. The fundraiser will raise money to fund transportation for children going to the Salvation Army’s summer camp program at Camp Heart O’ Hills in Welling, Oklahoma. The event will include a “Dancing with The Stars” style dancing competition featuring El Dorado residents, a dinner and a silent auction.

The first annual South Arkansas Community College Renaissance Faire that was originally scheduled for Saturday has been moved to April 20 at the Arboretum. While it was originally planned to take place in the parking lot next to the South Ark Library, warnings of hail, damaging winds, tornadoes and flooding first prompted it to be moved into the gym. However, continued warnings have caused it to switch days entirely.

As for the moved to the Arboretum, Heath Waldrop, director of marketing and public relations, said the location seemed more fitting and since the Arboretum was available the organizers decided to take advantage of it.

“We actually are hoping that pushing it to next weekend will help attendance, giving us an additional week to promote,” Waldrop said. “And (today), ACT is being administered on campus so this will make things a little more logistically easy on that front.

The El Dorado School District canceled the El Dorado Outdoor Market, noting students would have a modified version of the event at the End of Year Showcase on May 14.

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