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April, 2017 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
It was a busy April, especially in the latter half of the month. Several heavy rain events saturated the soil, and set Arkansas up for the big flood event on the 29th/30th. More water fell than the ground could hold, and this led to life threatening flash flooding and river flooding. Along the way, at least ten tornadoes were counted, and these were generally weak (rated EF0/EF1).

 

Record Temperatures
 
There were no high/low temperatures records tied or broken in April.

 

A Very Active Pattern/Flooding Rain
 
There were numerous flood and severe weather headlines/hazards to the south of Arkansas at 130 pm CDT on 04/02/2017.
In the picture: There were numerous flood and severe weather headlines/hazards to the south of Arkansas at 130 pm CDT on 04/02/2017.
 

A huge severe weather episode was expected to unfold on April 2nd. The ingredients were in place to support numerous severe storms, with tornadoes and wind damage the primary concerns. While southern Arkansas was in the crosshairs of this potential big event, the main target area was eastern Texas into Louisiana and southern Mississippi.

There were more than a dozen reports of tornadoes along the Gulf Coast. Most of these were in Louisiana, with at least two fatalities reported. In Mississippi, flood waters claimed at least one life, with another death blamed on a tree falling on a home.

The fireworks shifted over the southeast United States on the 3rd. A tornado (rated EF1) flipped a mobile home in South Carolina, and a man was killed. More than two dozen tornadoes touched down in Georgia.

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) at Springfield, MO showed a supercell (storm with rotating updrafts) close to Bergman (Boone County) at 930 pm CDT on 04/04/2017.
Reflectivity at 930 pm CDT (04/04)  |  Storm Relative Velocity at 930 pm CDT (04/04)
More Information About Rotation
In the pictures: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) at Springfield, MO showed a supercell (storm with rotating updrafts) close to Bergman (Boone County) at 930 pm CDT on 04/04/2017.
 

The next day (the 4th), severe weather was back on the radar in the middle of the country, and parts of Arkansas were included. A large storm system wobbled toward the region, and was expected to trigger showers and thunderstorms during the evening.

The strongest storms affected the northwest half of the state. Up to golf ball size hail pelted areas near Coal Hill (Johnson County) and Denning (Franklin County). Ping pong ball size hail occurred in Flippin (Marion County). A 57 mph gust was measured at Rogers (Benton County). Trees were toppled at Berryville (Carroll County), and a roof was removed from a porch at Deer (Newton County).

There was a weak tornado (rated EF1) about three miles north-northeast of Bergman (Boone County) around 934 pm CDT. Roofs were partially removed from several homes, and a mobile home and garage (attached to a house) were demolished. 

 

Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 04/11/2017.
In the picture: Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 04/11/2017.
 

On the 10th/11th, a cold front slowly pushed into the area from the northwest. While there was some severe weather, this was more of a heavy rain event.

Parts of the southwest received more than four inches of precipitation. A whopping 4.87 inches of liquid was measured at De Queen (Sevier County) in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on the 11th. High water flowed into homes, and rescues were necessary. At Nashville (Howard County), 4.54 inches of rain fell, with 4.34 inches at Ashdown (Little River County), 4.20 inches at Hope (Hempstead County), 4.05 inches at Millwood Dam (Little River County), 3.75 inches at Bluff City (Nevada County), and 3.71 inches at Murfreesboro (Pike County).

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) estimated over four inches of rain just north of Jacksonville (Pulaski County) between 700 pm and 1000 pm CDT on 04/17/2017.
In the picture: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) estimated over four inches of rain just north of Jacksonville (Pulaski County) between 700 pm and 1000 pm CDT on 04/17/2017.
 

There was not much happening during the evening of the 17th. A weak stationary front was draped across central Arkansas, and precipitation was isolated. However, just north of Jacksonville (Pulaski County), a small cluster of thunderstorms unleashed a lot of rain in a short time.

Between 800 pm and 1000 pm CDT, a quick 3.02 inches of precipitation was measured at the Little Rock Air Force Base (Pulaski County)! Due to the deluge, numerous underpasses and roads were under water for a short while. Interestingly, not far away (10 to 15 miles), a trace of rain fell at Little Rock National Airport (Pulaski County).

 

The weather pattern featured a front stalled across Arkansas, with areas of heavy rain/scattered thunderstorms to the north of the front as a storm system ("L") approached from the southern Plains on 04/21/2017. The system and associated precipitation exited to the east the next day.
Pattern at 700 am CDT (04/21)  |  Pattern at 700 pm CDT (04/21)
Pattern at 700 am CDT (04/21)  |  Pattern at 700 pm CDT (04/21)
In the pictures: The weather pattern featured a front stalled across Arkansas, with areas of heavy rain/scattered thunderstorms to the north of the front as a storm system ("L") approached from the southern Plains on 04/21/2017. The system and associated precipitation exited to the east the next day.
 

On the 21st/22nd, the setup was perfect for several inches of rain across the north. A front was parked south of Little Rock (Pulaski County), with a storm system looming to the west. The system was expected to pull warm/moist air northward over the front, resulting in widespread downpours.

As the day progressed, rain overspread the north and kept in cool. At 1200 pm CDT, temperatures were only in the lower 50s at places such as Harrison (Boone County) and Mountain Home (Baxter County). There was little to no rain across the south, with readings in the lower 80s at El Dorado (Union County).

By the time the event was over early on the 22nd, two to more than three inches of rain dumped toward the Missouri border. Forty eight hour amounts through 700 pm CDT on the 22nd included 3.56 inches at Highfill (Benton County), 3.22 inches at Harrison (Boone County), 2.94 inches at Mountain Home (Baxter County), and 2.87 inches at Fayetteville (Washington County).

It stayed mostly cloudy and cool over the region on the 22nd, with a few sprinkles. The high temperature at Harrison (Boone County) was 49 degrees, and it was 54 degrees at Jonesboro (Craighead County). These were the coolest highs on record for the day at these sites.

 

The satellite showed showers and thunderstorms building into northwest Arkansas from Oklahoma during the predawn hours of 04/26/2017. Precipitation weakened (less red and yellow colors), and then reformed over the same areas heading into the morning.
Satellite at 115 am CDT (04/26)  |  Satellite at 315 am CDT (04/26)
Satellite at 515 am CDT (04/26)  |  Satellite at 715 am CDT (04/26)
Satellite at 915 am CDT (04/26)
In the pictures: The satellite showed showers and thunderstorms building into northwest Arkansas from Oklahoma during the predawn hours of 04/26/2017. Precipitation weakened (less red and yellow colors), and then reformed over the same areas heading into the morning.
 

An active April continued late on the 25th as a storm system intensified in the Plains. Thunderstorms erupted in central and eastern Oklahoma, and plowed into northwest Arkansas between 1230 am and 100 am CDT on the 26th.

A 61 mph wind gust was measured near Highfill (Benton County). Numerous trees were pushed over at Eureka Springs (Carroll County). Near Bellefonte (Boone County), a tree was blown down across Highway 62. There was also a weak tornado (rated EF1) that cut a swath from four miles southwest of Beaver to almost eight miles east-northeast of Holiday Island (both in Carroll County). Along this thirteen mile track, the tornado damaged homes, destroyed outbuildings, and snapped or uprooted trees. The tornado continued another three miles into Missouri before dissipating.

Storms weakened for a few hours, and then came back to life in roughly the same locations. This time, it was a heavy rain episode. Two to more than three inches of liquid flooded streets in Fayetteville (Washington County). Highway 23 was shut down due to high water at Huntsville (Madison County).   

On the Buffalo River, water levels were on the way up when four canoeists headed downstream between Ponca and Pruitt (both in Newton County). At least two canoes flipped, and the body of one of the paddlers was recovered several days later. 

 

There were a variety of weather headlines across Arkansas during the late morning of 04/26/2017. There was a flood concern in the northwest, with severe thunderstorms and the possibility of tornadoes farther southeast.
In the picture: There were a variety of weather headlines across Arkansas during the late morning of 04/26/2017. There was a flood concern in the northwest, with severe thunderstorms and the possibility of tornadoes farther southeast.
 

While it flooded in the northwest, the focus for severe weather shifted to the southeast. A Tornado Watch was posted for much of the state by late morning. Scattered severe storms ripped through Caulksville (Logan County), and produced tennis ball size hail. Trees fell on homes at Danville, Dardanelle, and Rover (all in Yell County). There was also a brief weak tornado (rated EF0) just north of Chickalah (Yell County).

In the afternoon, a line of storms came together southwest of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and surged to the northeast. Golf ball size hail was reported a few miles northeast of Malvern (Hot Spring County). After that, it was mostly wind. Trees and power lines were downed at Brinkley (Monroe County), Cotton Plant (Woodruff County), McCrory (Woodruff County), Trumann (Poinsett County), Wheatley (St. Francis County), and Wynne (Cross County). An estimated 60 mph gust kicked up a lot of dust near Fairmount (Prairie County).

There was more flooding in central and northeast sections of the state. Water ran into the courthouse and several businesses at Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County). County roads were under water near Black Rock (Lawrence County). A road was flooded in Perryville (Perry County), and a car was stranded.

 

Fifty four hour rainfall through 100 pm CDT on 04/30/2017. A few of the totals are estimated.
Rainfall (Arkansas)  |  Rainfall (Zoomed Out)
In the pictures: Fifty four hour rainfall through 100 pm CDT on 04/30/2017. A few of the totals are estimated.
 

The month finished with the largest rain event of the spring so far. The available moisture in place was incredible. In fact, the atmosphere contained at least double the usual moisture.

Parts of the northwest, and central into northeast sections of Arkansas were hammered with over six inches of liquid. It was two months of rain in only a day. Twenty four hour amounts through 700 am CDT on the 30th included 9.73 inches near Rogers (Benton County), 8.50 inches at Savoy (Washington County), 7.85 inches at Guy (Faulkner County), and 7.82 inches at Georgetown (White County). Numerous roads were under water, with water into homes, and people rescued from houses and vehicles due to rising water.

At least seven people were killed as flooding became extreme. Near Hindsville (Madison County), a car carrying two small children (4-year-old boy and 18-month-old girl) was pushed off the road. Their bodies were eventually recovered. At Eureka Springs (Carroll County), a young woman was inner tubing in a drainage ditch and disappeared under a bridge. According to reports, her body was found a half mile downstream. A 10-year-old girl fell into a creek at Springdale (Washington County), and was swept downstream. Also in Washington County, the body an elderly man was found in a car that had been submerged in water. In West Little Rock (Pulaski County), a woman's body was discovered in Rock Creek. She was supposedly camping in a tent, and went missing when the water came up. Finally, northwest of Paron (Saline County), a group of people in kayaks were challenged by currents along Alum Fork south of Lake Winona. One man was killed.

 

A record crest of 29.0 feet occurred along the Black River at Pocahontas (Randolph County) on  05/02/2017.
In the picture: A record crest of 29.0 feet occurred along the Black River at Pocahontas (Randolph County) on  05/02/2017. 
 

Area tributaries swelled heading into early May. Moderate to major flooding occurred along the Black, White, and Cache Rivers (northern and eastern Arkansas). A record crest of 29.0 feet was reached along the Black River at Pocahontas (Randolph County) on May 2nd (breaking the previous record of 28.5 feet in late April, 2011). Prior to this unprecedented rise, evacuations were ordered on the east side of town, and Highway 67 was shut down.

 

Pocahontas (Randolph County) and surrounding areas were inundated with water from an overflowing Black River (and failed levees along the river) on 05/03/2017. This is looking north from Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County). As the White River climbed steadily at Georgetown (White County), Highway 36 went under water. Because this was the only road out of town, people were forced to travel via boat. The photos are courtesy of Tracy Brengard (via Twitter), Ron Snyder (via Facebook), and Debra Lang (via Facebook) respectively.
Flooding at Pocahontas (Randolph County)  |  Flooding at Georgetown (White County)
Boating to Work from Georgetown (White County)
In the pictures: Pocahontas (Randolph County) and surrounding areas were inundated with water from an overflowing Black River (and failed levees along the river) on 05/03/2017. This is looking north from Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County). As the White River climbed steadily at Georgetown (White County), Highway 36 went under water. Because this was the only road out of town, people were forced to travel via boat. The photos are courtesy of Tracy Brengard (via Twitter), Ron Snyder (via Facebook), and Debra Lang (via Facebook) respectively.
 

On the 3rd, the river started dropping as a local levee failed in multiple spots. This led to imminent and widespread flooding in parts of Lawrence and Randolph Counties. A Flash Flood Emergency (mentioning "an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation") was issued by the National Weather Service in Memphis, TN at 831 am CDT.

 

 

In the days to follow, the White River overflowed. At Georgetown (White County), a stretch of Highway 36 became a lake, and the town became an island. Extensive sandbagging took place at Des Arc (Prairie County) and Clarendon (Monroe County) to help keep some homes and businesses dry. According to the the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, water engulfed more than 950,000 acres of cropland (in 21 of 75 counties), causing over $175 million in losses (especially to rice, soybeans, and corn).

Given all this water. rainfall for the month was four to more than eight inches above average at El Dorado (Union County), Fayetteville (Washington County), Harrison (Boone County), Jonesboro (Craighead County), and Little Rock (Pulaski County). Statewide, it was the ninth wettest April on record. The most rain reported was 22.19 inches just southeast (by 2.1 miles) of Rogers (Benton County), which is a CoCoRaHS site. This was just shy of the April state record of 23.80 inches at Story (Montgomery County) in 1927.

 

Precipitation in April, 2017
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 12.86 4.57 +8.29 281%
Harrison (NC AR) 11.68 4.32 +7.36 270%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 8.68 3.66 +5.02 237%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 7.06 4.30 +2.76 164%
Little Rock (C AR) 10.13 5.14 +4.99 197%
West Memphis (EC AR) 5.97 5.38 +0.59 111%
Texarkana (SW AR) 5.30 3.94 +1.36 172%
El Dorado (SC AR) 9.00 4.09 +4.91 220%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 7.34 4.93 +2.41 149%

 

A weak tornado (rated EF1) was spawned south of West Point (White County) between 1230 am and 100 am CDT on 04/30/2017. The tornado was responsible for structural and tree damage.
Structural Damage South of West Point (White County)
Tree Damage South of West Point (White County)
In the pictures: A weak tornado (rated EF1) was spawned south of West Point (White County) between 1230 am and 100 am CDT on 04/30/2017. The tornado was responsible for structural and tree damage.
 

Not only was there a lot of rain, there was some severe weather. Just before 600 pm CDT on April 29th, damaging straight-line winds knocked a tree onto a mobile home at DeWitt (Arkansas). A woman inside the mobile home was killed.

At least seven weak tornadoes (rated EF0/EF1) were confirmed on the 29th/early on the 30th. One of these tornadoes tore through locations near Bellefonte (Boone County). The front of a house was pushed in, with serious damage resulting. Another tornado damaged a home and destroyed a mobile home north of Natural Dam (Crawford County). Sheds and metal buildings were ripped up by a tornado a couple of miles north of Griffithville (White County). Huge trees were also uprooted or snapped. Other tornadoes were identified south of Augusta (Woodruff County), southwest of Humnoke (Lonoke County), near Dell (Mississippi County), and north of Pleasant Grove (Drew County).

Power outages became a problem due to high winds and a tremendous amount of lightning. More than 70,000 customers lost power  

 

Links of Interest
April 2-5, 2017 (severe storms/heavy rain/windy)
April 10-11, 2017 (few severe storms/heavy rain)
April 17, 2017 (spotty heavy rain)
April 21-22, 2017 (heavy rain/few severe storms)
April 26, 2017 (severe storms/heavy rain)
April 29-30, 2017 (deadly flooding/severe storms)

 

Additional April Details
 
For more details about April, 2017...go to the "Temperatures and Precipitation" section below.

 

Temperatures and Precipitation
Temperatures were above normal in April. Readings at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to right. April, 2017 Temperatures in North Little Rock

 

April, 2017 Precipitation in North Little Rock Precipitation was above to well above average across much of the state. Amounts at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to left.

 

To right, a look at precipitation across the state. April, 2017 Precipitation in Arkansas

 

For a look at actual temperatures and precipitation in Arkansas as measured by the cooperative observer network, click here.