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September, 2017 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
A wet pattern came to a halt in September, with record dry conditions for the month in parts of the northwest half of Arkansas. The only significant rain was provided by the tropics to eastern sections of the state. While the first two weeks were mild, it felt more like summer thereafter.

 

Record Temperatures
 
There was a record low tied in early September, and several record highs tied or broken later in the month. Check out the records below.

 

Site Record Low (Date of Occurrence)
Jonesboro 50T (09/07)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Site Record High (Date of Occurrence)
Hot Springs 93T (09/24)
Jacksonville 94 (09/24), 92T (09/26)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Cool Then Warm/Very Dry
 
It was a record dry September, 2017 at more than a dozen sites across the northwest half of Arkansas.
In the picture: It was a record dry September, 2017 at more than a dozen sites across the northwest half of Arkansas.
 
After a wet summer (June, July, and August) in Arkansas, and the wettest summer on record in places such as North Little Rock (Pulaski County), the rain shut off in September. Parts of the northwest half of the state got less than a half inch of precipitation. There were spots that received no liquid at all. Rainfall was less than 25 percent of normal at Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Harrison (Boone County), Jonesboro (Craighead County), and Little Rock (Pulaski County).

 

Precipitation in September, 2017
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 1.50 4.82 -3.32 31%
Harrison (NC AR) 0.58 4.20 -3.62 14%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 0.39 3.06 -2.67 13%
Fort Smith (WC AR) TRACE 4.05 -4.05 0%
Little Rock (C AR) 0.45 3.18 -2.73 14%
West Memphis (EC AR) 1.47 2.84 -1.37 52%
Texarkana (SW AR) 1.00 3.43 -2.43 29%
El Dorado (SC AR) 1.27 3.11 -1.84 41%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 0.80 2.69 -1.89 30%

 

Hurricane Irma tracked toward Florida in the forty eight hour period ending at 1215 pm CDT on 09/09/2017.
Satellite at 1215 pm CDT (09/07)  |  Satellite at 1215 pm CDT (09/08)
Satellite at 1215 pm CDT (09/09)
In the pictures: Hurricane Irma tracked toward Florida in the forty eight hour period ending at 1215 pm CDT on 09/09/2017.
 

While the weather slowed down around here, the tropics remained active. Hurricane Harvey was the big story (especially in eastern Texas) in August. In September, it was Irma. After journeying more than 3,000 miles and ripping across several Caribbean Islands and northern Cuba, Hurricane Irma slammed into the Florida Keys early on September 10th as a Category 4 storm (130 mph winds). Gusts at Key West, FL neared 100 mph before wind observations stopped around 700 am CDT.

At one time, Irma was the strongest tropical system (185 mph winds) with the lowest pressure (913 mb) in the Atlantic Ocean (excluding the Gulf of Mexico and Carribbean Sea). This was the second Atlantic Basin storm with at least Category 4 status to make landfall in the United States in the same season (Harvey was the first). This had not happened since records began in the 1850s.

 

 

Hurricane Irma was near Fort Myers, FL at 700 pm CDT on 09/10/2017, with a projected track northward along the Florida Gulf Coast into southern Georgia.
In the picture: Hurricane Irma was near Fort Myers, FL at 700 pm CDT on 09/10/2017, with a projected track northward along the Florida Gulf Coast into southern Georgia.
 

After Irma exited the Keys (to the north), Irma went inland at Marco Island, FL as a Category 3 storm (115 mph sustained winds) at 235 pm CDT. Nearby, there was a gust to 142 mph at Naples, FL.

During the night of the 10th/early on the 11th, Irma proceeded north (at around 15 mph) through Florida, and was downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm. Even so, the system knocked out power to more than six million customers across the state.

While Irma was on the decline, there were still significant headlines on the 11th. Flash Flood Emergencies were posted for Jacksonville, FL and Charleston, SC due to heavy downpours and a four to six foot storm surge (onshore flow bringing sea water toward land). Parts of these cities were converted into lakes. At the former location, creeks and streams in and near town were at record levels. The tide at the latter location was the third highest in recorded history (the highest was Hurricane Hugo in 1989). At Atlanta, GA, there were several inches of rain and wind gusts to around 60 mph. Across a three state area (Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina), more than 70 people were killed.

 

Temperatures at 400 pm CDT on 09/12/2017.
In the picture: Temperatures at 400 pm CDT on 09/12/2017.
 

The remnants of Irma brought chances of showers to central and eastern Arkansas by the 12th. Generally light rain arrived during the morning, and persisted through much of the afternoon. Clouds and precipitation held temperatures down. Afternoon readings were only on the 50s and 60s in much of the state, with 70s away from the rain in the north and west.

Record cool high temperatures for the day (in the mid 60s) were noted at El Dorado (Union County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Stuttgart (Arkansas County).

 

Seventy two hour (three day) rainfall through 400 pm CDT on 09/12/2017.
In the picture: Seventy two hour (three day) rainfall through 400 pm CDT on 09/12/2017.
 

This was the "big" rainmaker for the month locally, with amounts ranging from a half inch to just over an inch along the Mississippi River. Through 400 pm CDT on the 12th, 1.08 inches was measured at West Memphis (Crittenden County), with 0.73 inch at Blytheville (Mississippi County). There was much less toward Little Rock (Pulaski County), with 0.12 inch reported.

 

After a cool start to September, the forecast called for a ridge of high pressure ("H") to build over much of the country east of the Rockies by the 20th.
In the picture: After a cool start to September, the forecast called for a ridge of high pressure ("H") to build over much of the country east of the Rockies by the 20th.
 

During the second half of September, a ridge of high pressure built over the eastern half of the country. It warmed up under the ridge, and umbrellas were not necessary.

 

High temperatures on 09/23/2017.
In the picture: High temperatures on 09/23/2017.
 

From the 20th to the 26th, high temperatures were mostly in the upper 80s to mid 90s. While it was abnormally warm locally, the heat was historic from the Great Lakes into New England. The mercury hit at least 90 degrees on seven straight days at Chicago, IL, with record highs on all seven days. There were four straight 90 degree days at Burlington, VT, including a 92 degree reading on the 25th that smashed the previous daily record by seven degrees.

 

In the picture: Hurricane Maria dismantled the WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) at San Juan, PR on 09/20/2017.
 

Records were also set in the tropics. On the 20th, Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm (155 mph sustained winds). It was the strongest such storm to hit the area since 1932.

Electricity was cut off to nearly everyone, and communication was nearly impossible. There were dwindling supplies of food, water, and medicine, making this a humanitarian crisis. The storm was blamed for over 40 deaths.The National Weather Service in San Juan was impacted, with its WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) ripped apart.

 

Links of Interest
September 9-13, 2017 (arrival of Irma)
September 20-28, 2017 (warm/very dry)

 

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

 

Temperatures and Precipitation
Temperatures were below average to begin September, but ended above average. Readings at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to right. September, 2017 Temperatures in North Little Rock

 

September, 2017 Precipitation in North Little Rock Precipitation was well below average. Amounts at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to left.

 

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

 

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