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Storm Reports
Are you interested in what happened during a recent event? Check out the report below.
 
Hail and Snow on March 9-13, 2017
 
Dewpoints climbed (moisture increased) rapidly into the 50s and 60s ahead of a cold front in the six hour period ending at 300 pm CST on 03/09/2017.
Surface Map at 900 am CST (03/09)  |  Surface Map at 300 pm CST (03/09)
In the pictures: Dewpoints climbed (moisture increased) rapidly into the 50s and 60s ahead of a cold front in the six hour period ending at 300 pm CST on 03/09/2017.
 

An active weather pattern continued on March 9th. Moisture increased readily ahead of a cold front approaching from the north. Thunderstorms developed along the front in Missouri during the afternoon and became severe (producing quarter size hail or larger, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes).

 

High temperatures on 03/09/2017.
In the picture: High temperatures on 03/09/2017.
 

After dark, the storms headed toward northern Arkansas into a springlike environment. High temperatures were in the mid 60s to mid 70s (10 to 15 degrees above average).

 

Simulated radar showed scattered severe storms in Missouri heading into northern Arkansas during the evening of 03/09/2017.
Simulated Radar at 600 pm CST (03/09)  |  Simulated Radar at 800 pm CST (03/09)
Simulated Radar at 1000 pm CST (03/09)  |  Simulated Radar at 1200 am CST (03/10)
In the pictures: Simulated radar showed scattered severe storms in Missouri heading into northern Arkansas during the evening of 03/09/2017.
 

The storms mainly brought hail, with golf ball size stones measured near Bethesda (Independence County). Hail reached ping pong ball size at Yellville (Marion County), and quarter size at Omaha (Boone County), Ralph (Marion County), Cozahome (Searcy County), and Perryville (Perry County). A 60 mph gust was measured a few miles southeast of Oil Trough (Independence County).

 

The front pushed to the south on the 10th, and it started turning cooler and dried out. Data showed storm systems forming along the front, and pulling moisture back into the region on the 11th.

In the pictures: Storm systems ("L") developed along a stalled front in the Gulf of Mexico in the eighteen hour period ending at 600 am CDT on 03/12/2017. North of the front, areas of rain developed, with rain changing to mostly snow in northern Arkansas as it turned colder. The cold air was provided by Arctic high pressure ("H") to the north.

 

Temperatures were in the 30s across northern Arkansas with snow toward the Missouri border at 300 pm CST on 03/11/2017. It was raining toward central sections of the state, with a few showers farther south.
In the picture: Temperatures were in the 30s across northern Arkansas with snow toward the Missouri border at 300 pm CST on 03/11/2017. It was raining toward central sections of the state, with a few showers farther south.
 

Showers started popping up during the morning of the 11th. Temperatures were only in the 30s and 40s. In the northern two to three rows of counties, the atmosphere cooled aloft in the afternoon. Given mostly subfreezing air overhead and a lack of melting, rain changed to snow and was heavy at times.

 

The satellite showed "bumpy" clouds in northern Arkansas at 430 pm CST on 03/11/2017. This was indicative of showery/convective precipitation, with bursts of heavy snow in places.
In the picture: The satellite showed "bumpy" clouds in northern Arkansas at 430 pm CST on 03/11/2017. This was indicative of showery/convective precipitation, with bursts of heavy snow in places.
 

Snow started falling at Harrison (Boone County) around 1237 pm CST, Mountain Home (Baxter County) at 117 pm CST, Jonesboro (Craighead County) at 322 pm CST, Fayetteville (Washington County) at 448 pm CST, and Newport (Jackson County) at 455 pm CST. Precipitation rates in this part of the state (the north) were higher than anywhere else, with liquid amounts ranging from a quarter to three quarters of an inch. Farther south, most amounts ranged from a few hundredths to a quarter inch.

 

Preliminary snowfall totals on 03/11/2017.
In the picture: Preliminary snowfall totals on 03/11/2017.
 

More than four inches of snow piled up at a few locations in the north. At Cave City (Sharp County), 5.0 inches was measured, with 4.8 inches at Calico Rock (Izard County), 4.0 inches at Mountain Home (Baxter County) and Swifton (Jackson County), 3.8 inches near Jonesboro (Craighead County) and Snow (Marion County), and 3.5 inches at Batesville (Independence County), Bergman (Boone County), Onia (Stone County), and Salem (Fulton County).

 

More Snow Than Expected

The forecast called for one to two inches of snow at most. Maximum reported amounts were more than double expected totals. There are several reasons why this happened:

(1) Underestimated Moisture: It was thought that a quarter to a half inch liquid would be available for snowmaking. In reality, there was a half to three quarters of an inch.

(2) Faster Changover: The switch from rain to snow was supposed to occur in the late afternoon. The transition happened several hours sooner.

(3) Higher Rates: Instead of a nice steady snow, there were bursts of snow that piled up faster than anticipated.

(4) Overestimated Warm Ground: There was way too much emphasis on melting of snow given soil temperatures in the 50s. Snow fell more quickly than it could melt.

 

Snow blanketed the Mountain Home (Baxter County) area during the afternoon of 03/11/2017. At the time of the photo, snow measured around three inches.
Snow Scene at Mountain Home (Baxter County)
Snow Measured at Mountain Home (Baxter County)
In the pictures: Snow blanketed the Mountain Home (Baxter County) area during the afternoon of 03/11/2017. At the time of the photo, snow measured around three inches. The photos are courtesy of Brad Haworth.
 

Interestingly, meteorological winter (December through February) had already ended, and there was hardly any snow. It was the second warmest winter on record in Arkansas (dating back to the late 1800s), and the ground was warm (soil temperatures in the lower to mid 50s). It was thought this might limit accumulations. In this case, snow came down faster than it melted, and it was the biggest winter event of the year.

 

Roads were slushy due to snow in the northern two to three counties of Arkansas during the late afternoon of 03/11/2017.
In the picture: Roads were slushy due to snow in the northern two to three counties of Arkansas during the late afternoon of 03/11/2017. The graphic is courtesy of IDriveArkansas.
 

There was snow on the roads as well, with slush reported on many highways by IDriveArkansas. As precipitation tapered off, slush gradually melted overnight and became less of an issue.

By dawn on the 12th, there was a widespread freeze from Little Rock (Pulaski County) northward. A hard freeze (temperatures well into the 20s) occurred in the Ozark Mountains (of the north). It was 22 degrees at Harrison (Boone County), Lead Hill (Boone County), and Mountain View (Stone County), and 23 degrees at Calico Rock (Izard County), Mountain Home (Baxter County), and Salem (Fulton County). This freeze was not well timed considering that plants had already begun to sprout due to well above average temperatures recently.

 

A narrow band of precipitation crossed Arkansas during the early morning hours of 03/13/2017. There was light snow in the north, and mainly rain in central and southern sections of the state.
In the picture: A narrow band of precipitation crossed Arkansas during the early morning hours of 03/13/2017. There was light snow in the north, and mainly rain in central and southern sections of the state.
 

Winter just kept coming on the 13th. A fast moving band of precipitation deposited half an inch to over an inch of snow at locations toward the Missouri border. A quick two inches of flakes was reported at Calico Rock (Izard County), with 1.5 inches at Pocahontas (Lawrence County), and an inch at Gaither (Boone County).

 

Storm Reports
There were numerous reports of mainly hail and snow in the northern half of Arkansas on March 9th, 11th, and 13th. For a look at the reports, click here.
 
Link of Interest
Plot Reports
Preliminary reports of severe weather and snow in the Little Rock County Warning Area on March 9-13, 2017 (in red).
Submit a storm report.
In the picture: Preliminary reports of severe weather and snow in the Little Rock County Warning Area on March 9-13, 2017 (in red).