National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Monthly Storm Reports and Storm Data
Storm Reports
Are you interested in what happened during a recent event? Check out the report below.
 
Arkansas Yearly Climate Summary (2018)/Pg1
 
Links of Interest
Storms of 2018 in Arkansas (in PDF)
Note: This is a file with lists of significant events (tornadoes, damaging winds, hail, etc) during the year in Arkansas.
U.S. Billion Dollar Weather Events in 2018 (html)
Year 2018 (Arkansas) (text)
Year 2018 (Little Rock) (text) Year 2018 (North Little Rock) (text)
Year 2018 (Harrison) (text) Year 2018 (Pine Bluff) (text)

 

Some Quick Stats for Arkansas
 
2018 Statistics
Month Tornadoes Tornado Deaths Wind (Tstm and Non-Tstm) Deaths Flood/Flash Flood Deaths Lightning Deaths
Jan 4 (EF1: 4) 0 0 0 0
Feb 4 (EF0: 1, EF1: 2, EF2: 1) 1 0 0 0
Mar 1 (EF0: 1) 0 0 0 0
Apr 13 (EF0: 3, EF1: 7, EF2: 3) 0 0 0 0
May 2 (EF0: 1, EF1: 1) 0 0 0 0
Jun 2 (EF0: 2) 0 0 0 1
Jul 0 0 0 0 1
Aug 2 (EF0: 1, EF1: 1) 0 0 0 0
Sep 0 0 0 0 0
Oct 2 (EF1: 2) 0 0 0 0
Nov 3 (EF0: 1, EF1: 1, EF2: 1) 0 0 2 0
Dec 1 (EF1: 1) 0 0 0 0
Total 34 1 0 2 2
Note: The latest tornado (rated EF1) affected areas from Spring Hill to Hope (both in Hempstead County) early on December 1st. The strongest tornado (rated EF2/maximum winds around 120 mph) tracked almost 12 miles from near Rudy to southeast of Chester (both in Crawford County) on April 13th.

 

In 2018, above normal temperatures (in red) and above average precipitation (in green) occurred eight out of twelve months.
In the picture: In 2018, above normal temperatures (in red) and above average precipitation (in green) occurred eight out of twelve months.
 

Looking statewide, temperatures and precipitation were largely above average (eight out of twelve months). It was the wettest February on record in Arkansas, and a Top ten wet August/September/October (three month period) and December. It was the warmest May, tied for the warmest May/June/July (three month period), the third coldest April, and a Top 10 cold November. It was snowy with record cold in January, and there was a lot of hail in March.

 

2018 Extremes
Type of Extreme Extreme Reached/Date of Extreme
Hottest Temperature 109° at Booneville 3 SSE (Logan Co.) - July 21
Coldest Temperature -7° at Lead Hill (Boone Co.) - January 17/18
Most Rain (Year) 87.32" at Murfreesboro 1 W (Pike Co.)
Most Rain (Month) 18.04" at Pine Bluff Water Plant (Jefferson Co.) - September
Most Rain (Day) 8.27" at Murfreesboro 2.4 WNW (Pike Co.) - August 9
Least Rain (Year) 40.70" at Flippin (Marion Co.)
Least Rain (Month) 0.32" at Saint Francis (Clay Co.) - July
Most Snow (Year) 8.5" at Stuttgart (Arkansas Co.)
Most Snow (Month) 7.5" at Omaha 2 S (Boone Co.) - January
Most Snow (Day) 5.5" at Georgetown (White Co.) - November 15
Highest Snow Depth 7.0" at Omaha 2 S (Boone Co.) - January 16th

 

It was wet to very wet across much of Arkansas, especially across central and southern sections.
Precipitation  |  Departure From Normal  |  Percent of Normal
Alternate Precipitation Based on Observer Reports
In the pictures: It was wet to very wet across much of Arkansas, especially across central and southern sections.
 

Breaking it down site by site, precipitation totals ranged from around 40 inches in the far north to over 80 inches in parts of central and southern Arkansas. It was the third wettest year on record at Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), and the fourth wettest year at Little Rock (Pulaski County). Temperatures were mostly on the warm side by a few tenths of a degree to a degree and a half.

 

Precipitation in 2018
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 46.63 48.51 -2.15 96%
Harrison (NC AR) 47.78 44.14 +3.64 108%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 67.80 48.10 +19.70 141%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 54.17 45.46 +8.71 119%
Little Rock (C AR) 71.41 49.75 +21.66 144%
West Memphis (EC AR) 55.49 52.23 +3.26 106%
Texarkana (SW AR) 54.95 49.65 +5.30 111%
El Dorado (SC AR) 58.98 52.92 +6.06 111%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 76.83 51.15 +25.68 150%
Note: The statewide average precipitation 64.31 inches, or 14.70 inches above average. This was the 8th wettest year on record.

 

Average Temperatures in 2018
Site Avg Temp +/-
Fayetteville (NW AR) 57.8° +0.8°
Harrison (NC AR) 58.7° +0.8°
Jonesboro (NE AR) 61.0° +1.0°
Fort Smith (WC AR) 62.8° +1.1°
Little Rock (C AR) 62.4° -0.3°
West Memphis (EC AR) 62.5° +1.5°
Texarkana (SW AR) 64.4° +0.5°
El Dorado (SC AR) 64.8° +1.3°
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 63.2° +0.4°
Note: The statewide average temperature was 61.1 degrees, or 0.7 degree above average. This was the 36th warmest year on record.

 

Summary of Events

 

 

In the picture: It was the second coldest New Year's Day at Little Rock (Pulaski County).
 

Very cold air spilled into Arkansas to begin 2018. At Little Rock (Pulaski County), the low temperature on the 1st was 10 degrees. This was the second coldest minimum on New Year's Day since 1879. The high only reached 25 degrees, which came in 2nd for the coldest daily maximum. It was nowhere close to record mark of 18 degrees in 1928.

Arctic high pressure was on the doorstep to the north. The barometer at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) topped out at 30.90 inches. This was a record high sea level pressure for January at the site.  

 

Snowfall on January 14-16, 2018.
In the picture: Snowfall on January 14-16, 2018.
 

In the middle of the month, there was a persistent northwest flow out of Canada east of the Rockies. The flow drove a couple of storm systems and a cold front toward the state by the 14th/15th. It was mild ahead of the front (temperatures in the 40s/50s), but much colder air was on the way. There was enough moisture to yield significant snow.

Event total snowfall accumulations reached 8.0 inches at Omaha (Boone County) and 7.0 inches at Yellville (Marion County). Six inches of flakes were measured at Camden (Ouachita County) and Palestine (St. Francis County), with five inches at England (Lonoke County), Redfield (Jefferson County), and Sheridan (Grant County), and four inches at Aubrey (Lee County), Blytheville (Mississippi County), Kingsland (Cleveland County), and Roe (Monroe County).

 

Snow Reports (January 14-16, 2018)
Site Amount (Inches)
Omaha (Boone Co) 8.5
Yellville (Marion Co) 7.0
Camden (Ouachita Co) 6.0
Gamaliel (Baxter Co) 6.0
Lead Hill (Boone Co) 6.0
Palestine (St. Francis Co) 6.0
England (Lonoke Co) 5.0
Redfield (Jefferson Co) 5.0
Sheridan (Grant Co) 5.0

 

It was the coldest morning in years at a number of sites across Arkansas on 01/17/2018.
In the picture: It was the coldest morning in years at a number of sites across Arkansas on 01/17/2018.
 

By dawn on the 17th, the mercury dipped into the single digits across much of Arkansas. At 600 am CST, the thermometer showed 7 degrees at North Little Rock (Pulaski County). It was the coldest morning locally since February 4, 1996.

Lead Hill (Boone County) had a low of 7 below zero, with 5 below zero reported at Mammoth Spring (Fulton County)! The 1 below zero readings at Flippin (Marion County) and Mena (Polk County) were the coldest since December, 1989.

 

Big Time Usage of Electricity

As temperatures bottomed out at unusually low levels (the lowest in almost thirty years in parts of Arkansas), energy usage soared. On the 17th, one company (in northern sections of the state) announced that the demand for electricity was at an all-time record peak. Another company (serving at least 700,000 customers) asked for people to conserve power, with outages possible if demand outpaced supply.

 

 

The pattern on 02/23/2018 featured colder than average temperatures across the northern and western U.S. colliding with very mild conditions farther southeast. Between these air masses was a front, and this wobbled across Arkansas. Moisture pooled around the front, and resulted in areas of heavy rain locally. Eventually, a storm system ("L") kicked out of the Rockies, and brought severe weather on the 24th.
In the picture: The pattern on 02/23/2018 featured colder than average temperatures across the northern and western U.S. colliding with very mild conditions farther southeast. Between these air masses was a front, and this wobbled across Arkansas. Moisture pooled around the front, and resulted in areas of heavy rain locally. Eventually, a storm system ("L") kicked out of the Rockies, and brought severe weather on the 24th.
 

Quite often in February, warm and cold air collide as the transition from winter to spring occurs. That was the case in 2018, and it led to a very unsettled pattern. Separating the air masses was a front that wobbled across the region for several days. Way more moisture than usual pooled around the front, and a couple of storm systems from the southwest United States wrung out the moisture. That led to widespread heavy to excessive rain.

It turned out to be the wettest February on record at more than fifty locations, including Camden (Ouachita County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Malvern (Hot Spring County), Mena (Polk County), Monticello (Drew County), Mount Ida (Montgomery County), and Newport (Jackson County). 

 

Record Wet Februarys in Arkansas
Year Amount (Inches) +/-
2018 11.84 +8.12
1939 8.65 +4.93
1989 8.57 +4.85
1956 8.52 +4.80
2001 8.07 +4.35

 

Records at these sites go back to the 1870s/1800s. Where records were set, monthly precipitation totals were mostly between 10 and 15 inches (6 to more than 10 inches above average).

 

 

Monthly rainfall and departure from average liquid were both in the double digits (over ten inches) at Jonesboro (Craighead County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), and Texarkana (Miller County).

 

Precipitation in February, 2018
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 7.91 2.81 +5.10 281%
Harrison (NC AR) 6.00 2.64 +3.36 227%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 14.14 3.72 +10.42 380%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 7.03 2.76 +4.27 255%
Little Rock (C AR) 14.04 3.66 +10.38 384%
West Memphis (EC AR) 11.43 4.45 +6.98 257%
Texarkana (SW AR) 14.76 3.99 +10.77 370%
El Dorado (SC AR) 11.84 4.79 +7.05 247%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 15.01 4.06 +10.95 370%

 

The worst flooding on tributaries was across southern and eastern sections of Arkansas on 02/26/2018. This was especially true along the Cache and Ouachita Rivers, with moderate to major flooding noted.
In the picture: The worst flooding on tributaries was across southern and eastern sections of Arkansas on 02/26/2018. This was especially true along the Cache and Ouachita Rivers, with moderate to major flooding noted.
 

Before the event, the flow of water along tributaries was extremely low, especially in northern and western Arkansas where drought existed. Too much rain changed that in a hurry. On the 26th, minor to moderate flooding was noted on rivers, mainly across the south and east.

 

In the picture: The Ouachita River was out of its banks at Camden (Ouachita County), with water flooding surrounding areas on 02/23/2018. The video is courtesy of Joel Ledbetter (via Facebook).
 

Flooding was the worst along the Cache and Ouachita Rivers, with major flooding occurring at Camden (Ouachita County) and Patterson (Woodruff County). At Camden (Ouachita County), a crest of 41.29 feet at 630 pm CST was the highest since 1987.

 

Link of Interest
More Video from Camden (Ouachita County) and Surrounding Areas (courtesy of Ouachita Electric Cooperative)

 

A moderate to severe drought (D1 to D3) on 02/06/2018 was reduced to almost no drought three weeks later.
In the pictures: A moderate to severe drought (D1 to D3) on 02/06/2018 was reduced to almost no drought three weeks later.
 

Following the deluge, widespread serious drought conditions (due to a record dry fall in 2017) were almost gone, with a hint of drought remaining in the extreme north toward the Missouri border. 

 

There were many closed highways due to high water across southern and eastern Arkansas on 03/01/2018. The information is courtesy of IDriveArkansas.
In the picture: There were many closed highways due to high water across southern and eastern Arkansas on 03/01/2018. The information is courtesy of IDriveArkansas.
 

There were numerous reports of flooded roads and roads closing (including major thoroughfares such as state highways) in the last days of February. Most of the reports came from the southeast half of Arkansas.

By early March, Lake DeGray (Clark and Hot Spring Counties) hit its highest level since it was filled in 1972. After flooding portions of Jacksonville (Pulaski County), a levee along the Bayou Meto River failed just east of Humnoke (Lonoke County). At least 100 homes were flooded. In Earle (Crittenden County), an overflowing Tyronza river swamped two dozen homes. 

 

 

A severe storm northwest of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) strongly leaned with height at 754 pm CST on 03/10/2018 (as viewed in a cross section). How much did it lean? At 2,000 feet (as viewed in a two panel display), the storm was at Jefferson (Jefferson County), but was over White Hall (Jefferson County) at 29,000 feet. The towns are eight miles apart! Powerful updrafts (feeding moisture into the storm) kept the storm erect, and also suspended hailstones aloft where it was subfreezing (above 8800 feet). This allowed the hailstones to grow and become huge (bigger than baseballs in some cases).
Cross Section at 754 pm CST (03/10)  |  Two Panel View at 754 pm CST (03/10)
In the pictures: A severe storm northwest of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) strongly leaned with height at 754 pm CST on 03/10/2018 (as viewed in a cross section). How much did it lean? At 2,000 feet (as viewed in a two panel display), the storm was at Jefferson (Jefferson County), but was over White Hall (Jefferson County) at 29,000 feet. The towns are eight miles apart! Powerful updrafts (feeding moisture into the storm) kept the storm erect, and also suspended hailstones aloft where it was subfreezing (above 8800 feet). This allowed the hailstones to grow and become huge (bigger than baseballs in some cases).
 

During the late afternoon and evening of March 10th (mainly between 400 pm and 1000 pm CST), scattered strong to severe thunderstorms mushroomed along the Arkansas River between Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County).

Initially, stones were as large as golf balls and hen eggs north of Charleston (Franklin County), a few miles northeast of Lavaca (Sebastian County), near Uniontown (Crawford County), and at Bauxite (Saline County). As storms progressed into southeast Arkansas, hail got even bigger! Stones reached baseball to almost softball size at White Hall and Pine Bluff (both in Jefferson County).

There were 31 reports of large hail (quarter size or bigger). This was one of only 28 events with at least 25 instances of large hail since 1980.

 

How Rare is Huge Hail?

With the exception of 2005 and 2013, baseball size or larger hail was observed in Arkansas at least once a year since 1980 (through 2017). Hail at least softball size occurred once every other year (19 of 38 years). As far as numbers of reports, of the roughly 5,400 instances of quarter size or larger hail, 233 were at least baseballs (4.3% of reports) and 73 were at least softballs (1.4% of reports). The largest hailstones were five inches in diameter (slightly larger than a DVD) on January 21, 1999 and April 2, 2006. 

 

There was a swath of large hail from around Fort Smith (Sebastian County) to just south of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Monticello (Drew County) during the afternoon and evening of 03/10/2018.
In the picture: There was a swath of large hail from around Fort Smith (Sebastian County) to just south of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Monticello (Drew County) during the afternoon and evening of 03/10/2018.
 

Hail damage was extensive, especially where the largest stones were observed in Jefferson County. Car windows were busted out, auto bodies were dented (beyond repair in many cases), and roofs of homes and businesses were pelted. Damage will undoubtedly be in the millions of dollars.

 

 

A dusting of snow was observed at Cave City (Sharp County) during the morning of 04/07/2018. The photo is courtesy of George Carmical via Facebook.
In the picture: A dusting of snow was observed at Cave City (Sharp County) during the morning of 04/07/2018. The photo is courtesy of George Carmical via Facebook. Click to enlarge.
Light snow also fell at Hardy (Sharp County) on 04/07/2018. The photo is courtesy of Jeannie Myrt via Facebook.
In the picture: Light snow also fell at Hardy (Sharp County) on 04/07/2018. The photo is courtesy of Jeannie Myrt via Facebook. Click to enlarge.
 

We went from flooding and hail in February/March to cold in April. There were patches of sleet and light snow early on the 7th. Toward the Missouri border, up to an inch of powder accumulated. A half inch to inch of snow was reported at Ash Flat (Sharp County), Batesville (Independence County), Hardy (Sharp County), Horseshoe Bend (Izard County), Mammoth Spring (Fulton County), and Mountain Home (Baxter County).

There was a trace of snow at North Little Rock (Pulaski County). This happened only three other times in April (1980, 1983, and 2003). A few flakes were also observed in Monticello (Drew County), which was the latest snowfall since April 25, 1910.

 

 

On the morning of the 7th, subfreezing temperatures were noted in the northern half of the state. The mercury bottomed out at 21 degrees at Lead Hill (Boone County), 22 degrees at Winslow (Washington County), 23 degrees at Harrison (Boone County), 24 degrees at Highfill (Benton County) and Mountain Home (Baxter County), and 25 degrees at Fayetteville (Washington County).

It was 29 degrees at North Little Rock (Pulaski County), which was the coldest temperature on record for the month of April (breaking the previous record of 30 degrees in 1982 and 2007).

 

Low temperatures on 04/08/2018.
In the picture: Low temperatures on 04/08/2018.
 

Early on the 8th, there was another freeze, and this one was more widespread. In fact, it was 32 degrees or colder at all major reporting stations, including southern sites such as El Dorado (Union County), Monticello (Drew County), and Texarkana (Miller County). At Compton (Newton County), the low was 19 degrees.

An almost unbelievable 9 degrees was reported near Kingston (Madison County). Officials from the National Weather Service in Tulsa, OK visited the site to test the accuracy of the reading. It was determined the equipment was correctly calibrated. Also, a couple of nearby thermometers showed 11 degrees. Given the findings, 9 degrees is the lowest temperature ever recorded in Arkansas during the month of April.

 

 

At Little Rock (Pulaski County), the low was 28 degrees. This equaled the coldest April reading in recorded history locally. The last time it happened was April 8, 2007.

It is no surprise that monthly temperatures were 4 to 6 degrees below average at most locations, making it a Top 5 cold April in Arkansas. At North Little Rock (Pulaski County), the average temperature in April (55.3 degrees) was actually lower than March (55.5 degrees)!

 

Record Cold Aprils in Arkansas
Year Avg Temp +/-
1907 54.0° -6.5°
1983 54.4° -6.1°
2018 55.2° -5.3°
1904 55.9° -4.6°
1997 56.0° -4.5°

 

Various weather headlines were posted as of 400 pm CDT on 04/13/2018. Severe weather and flooding were highlighted locally, with wind and a fire danger to the west and blizzard conditions to the north.
In the picture: Various weather headlines were posted as of 400 pm CDT on 04/13/2018. Severe weather and flooding were highlighted locally, with wind and a fire danger to the west and blizzard conditions to the north.
 

On Friday the 13th, there was bound to be bad luck. A lot was going on in the middle of the country, with heavy snow/cold to the north of the state and dusty conditions/fires to the west. Around here, thunderstorms were likely, and winds turned with height. It was a perfect setting for tornadoes.

 

A supercell (storm with rotating updrafts and exhibiting features such as a hook echo and strong rotation) was moving from Rudy to Mountainburg (both in Crawford County) at 404 pm CDT on 04/13/2018.
Reflectivity at 404 pm CDT (04/13)  |  Storm Relative Velocity at 404 pm CDT (04/13)
In the pictures: A supercell (storm with rotating updrafts and exhibiting features such as a hook echo and strong rotation) was moving from Rudy to Mountainburg (both in Crawford County) at 404 pm CDT on 04/13/2018.
 

Shortly after 400 pm CDT, a supercell (storm with rotating updrafts) in northwest sections of the state spawned a tornado (rated EF2) at Mountainburg (Crawford County). At least 150 homes were damaged along a twelve mile track, with mobile homes and outbuildings destroyed. Four people were injured. Just before 600 pm CDT, another tornado (rated EF1) hit areas between Lavaca (Sebastian County) and Cecil (Franklin County). This tornado mainly caused tree and power pole damage, and also tore up a mobile home. At about the same time, tennis ball size hail was reported three miles east of Omaha (Boone County).

 

Link of Interest
More About Rotation

 

At least thirteen tornadoes were counted across Arkansas through 04/17/2018.
In the picture: At least thirteen tornadoes were counted across Arkansas through 04/17/2018.
 

Heading into the evening (between 630 pm and 1030 pm CDT), half a dozen more tornadoes (rated EF0 to EF2) were confirmed just northwest of Ozone (Johnson County), close to Umpire (Howard County), west of Pencil Bluff (Montgomery County), southwest of Opello (Conway County), near Gamaliel (Baxter County), and southeast of El Paso (White County). These locales are from northern and western into central Arkansas.

At Mountain Home (Baxter County), straight-line wind gusts at 80 to 90 mph damaged several businesses. A nursing home lost a part of its roof and had to be evacuated. Gusts over 90 mph blew down many trees at the Shady Lake Recreation Area (Polk County). The park was closed as a result.

 

 

Chicken houses were heavily damaged by a weak tornado (rated EF1) near Umpire (Howard County) on 04/13/2018.
In the picture: Chicken houses were heavily damaged by a weak tornado (rated EF1) near Umpire (Howard County) on 04/13/2018. Click to enlarge.
Numerous trees were uprooted or snapped by a weak tornado (rated EF1) near Umpire (Howard County) on 04/13/2018.
In the picture: Numerous trees were uprooted or snapped by a weak tornado (rated EF1) near Umpire (Howard County) on 04/13/2018. Click to enlarge.
Powerful winds mowed down a lot of trees at the Shady Lake Recreation Area (Polk County) on 04/13/2018.
In the picture: Powerful winds mowed down a lot of trees at the Shady Lake Recreation Area (Polk County) on 04/13/2018. Click to enlarge.
 

During the wee hours of the 14th, attention shifted to the southeast. Tornado Warnings were issued for several supercells, and a line of storms barelled into the area from the southwest. Five tornadoes (rated EF1/EF2) ripped through portions of Union, Ashley, and Chicot Counties (toward the Louisiana border). This brought the event total to thirteen tornadoes.

 

 

 

There was a moderate to severe drought from western into central Arkansas on 07/10/2018.
In the picture: There was a moderate to severe drought from western into central Arkansas on 07/10/2018.
 

By the late spring, a switch was thrown. It warmed up quickly in May, and the rain shut off. Above average temperatures continued through June and July, and rainfall remained subpar. Drought conditions developed from southwest into central sections of the state.

 

Record Warm May/June/Julys in Arkansas
Year Avg Temp +/-
2018 78.9° +3.7°
1882 78.9° +3.7°
1956 78.4° +3.2°
1939 78.4° +3.2°
1884 78.3° +3.1°

 

Hail was not as big as a softball (shown), but it was at least baseball size five miles southwest of Hector (Pope County) on 06/02/2018. The photo is courtesy of Amanda Duvall.
In the picture: Hail was not as big as a softball (shown), but it was at least baseball size five miles southwest of Hector (Pope County) on 06/02/2018. The photo is courtesy of Amanda Duvall. Click to enlarge.
Mammatus clouds (noted when it is turbulent/stormy) were spectacular in parts of northern Arkansas on 06/02/2018. The photo is courtesy of Mel Coleman.
In the picture: Mammatus clouds (noted when it is turbulent/stormy) were spectacular in parts of northern Arkansas on 06/02/2018. The photo is courtesy of Mel Coleman. Click to enlarge.
 

While rain was generally hit and miss, there were massive thunderstorms at times. On June 2nd, storms produced huge hail in western Arkansas. Hail bigger than baseballs pelted areas between Dover and Hector (both in Pope County). Hen egg size hail was measured at Mountain Valley (Garland County), with golf ball size hail just southwest of Harrison (Boone County).

 

There's More to the Story...
 
There is more concerning the year 2018 in Arkansas. To check out the rest of the story, click here.