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April, 2019 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
After seven consecutive months of above average precipitation and a brief dry spell in March, the sky opened in April. Round after round of heavy to excessive rain likely made it a Top 10 wet April. Rivers in southern and eastern Arkansas stayed high much of the month. There were only two tornadoes, with most severe weather staying to the south.

 

Record Temperatures
 
There were several record low temperatures tied or broken on April 1st/2nd, and a couple of record highs on the 10th. Check out the records below.

 

Site Record Low (Date of Occurrence)
Batesville 28 (04/01)
El Dorado 30T (04/02)
Jacksonville 31 (04/01), 30 (04/02)
North Little Rock 35 (04/01)
Stuttgart 37 (04/02)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Site Record High (Date of Occurrence)
Fayetteville 85 (04/10)
Hot Springs 87 (04/10)

 

Very Wet/Severe Weather Mainly to South
 

The theme in April was twofold: (1) there was a continuous stream of storm system across the southern United States, and (2) Arkansas got a lot of rain and severe weather tended to stay to the south. For the month, precipitation was above average by three to more than six inches at El Dorado (Union County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Texarkana (Miller County), and West Memphis (Crittenden County). Over ten inches of rain was common in central and southern sections of the state.

 

Precipitation in April, 2019
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 5.11 4.57 +0.54 112%
Harrison (NC AR) 7.20 4.32 +2.88 167%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 7.50 5.02 +2.48 149%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 6.71 4.30 +2.41 156%
Little Rock (C AR) 11.56 5.14 +6.42 225%
West Memphis (EC AR) 9.20 5.38 +3.82 171%
Texarkana (SW AR) 7.89 3.94 +3.95 200%
El Dorado (SC AR) 13.64 4.09 +9.55 333%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 8.92 4.93 +3.99 181%

 

The pattern featured a storm system (System #1) exiting to the east of Arkansas, with another system (System #2) approaching from the west at 700 am CDT on 04/05/2019.
In the picture: The pattern featured a storm system (System #1) exiting to the east of Arkansas, with another system (System #2) approaching from the west at 700 am CDT on 04/05/2019.
 

The month got off to a cold start, with a freeze in many locations on the 1st/2nd. Low temperatures were generally in the upper 20s to upper 30s. By the 4th, there were thunderstorms in the forecast. One to two inches of rain fell from central into southeast Arkansas.

 

Precipitable water (PWAT), or water vapor contained in a vertical column of the atmosphere, climbed to close to double the average in southeast Arkansas by 700 pm CDT on 04/06/2019. The PWAT value at the North Little Rock Airport (Pulaski County) was 1.31 inches. Typically in early April, values are between 0.75 inch and 1.00 inch.
In the picture: Precipitable water (PWAT), or water vapor contained in a vertical column of the atmosphere, climbed to close to double the average in southeast Arkansas by 700 pm CDT on 04/06/2019. The PWAT value at the North Little Rock Airport (Pulaski County) was 1.31 inches. Typically in early April, values are between 0.75 inch and 1.00 inch.
 

Round two was more prolonged, with thunderstorms spread out from the 6th through the 8th. There was more than the usual liquid to wring out of the clouds, and this made heavy downpours and flash flooding a concern. 

 

 

Five day rainfall through 700 am CDT on 04/09/2019.
In the picture: Five day rainfall through 700 am CDT on 04/09/2019.
 

Half a foot of rain dumped between Magnolia (Columbia County) and El Dorado (Union County). Two to three inches of rain fell at Monticello (Drew County). The deluge caused street flooding at most of these locations. Highway 79 was under water about three miles north of Emerson (Columbia County). About a mile to the northwest, a car was submerged in water at the intersection of two county roads. Southeast of Magnolia (Columbia County), a vehicle was washed off the road. The driver was able to escape unharmed. High water also approached homes in Camden (Ouachita County).

 

Reports of severe weather in the forty eight hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 04/08/2019. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).
In the picture: Reports of severe weather in the forty eight hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 04/08/2019. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).
 

To the south, there was golf ball to baseball size from eastern Texas into northern Louisiana. Wind damage occurred in central Mississippi, with many instances of trees and power lines downed. A few severe storms with large hail managed to develop in Arkansas. Golf ball size hail was reported at Monticello (Drew County), with ping pong size hail at Benton (Saline County), and quarter size stones at Hermitage (Bradley County) and Mayflower (Faulkner County).

Part of the reason that severe weather was minimal locally was a lack of instability. For example, high temperatures on the 7th failed to get out of the 60s across the southern/eastern counties. Clouds and rain kept the environment cool, and there was not enough energy to fuel a lot of severe storms.

By the 9th, the rain was gone temporarily, with highs in the 80s and plenty of sunshine. On the 10th, a record high of 85 degrees was established at Fayetteville (Washington County). A record was also set at Hot Springs (Garland County) when the mercury hit 87 degrees.

 

Ahead of a storm system ("L") in Texas on 04/13/2019, very mild and unstable air was noted south of a warm front (red line) along the Gulf Coast. Farther north, there was a lot of wind energy, and winds turned with height (shear). Severe weather was most likely where the most wind energy phased with the most instability.
In the picture: Ahead of a storm system ("L") in Texas on 04/13/2019, very mild and unstable air was noted south of a warm front (red line) along the Gulf Coast. Farther north, there was a lot of wind energy, and winds turned with height (shear). Severe weather was most likely where the most wind energy phased with the most instability.
 

On the 13th, it was cool again, and all eyes were on a warm front to the south. If the front was able to work into Arkansas, warm and unstable air would spread into the region. If this happened, severe storms were a certainty. Given a lot of shear (winds turning with height), storms that became severe had the potential to produce tornadoes.

 

Temperatures were only in the 40s/50s across Arkansas at 200 pm CDT on 04/13/2019. It was much warmer along the Gulf Coast, with readings in the 70s/80s.
In the picture: Temperatures were only in the 40s/50s across Arkansas at 200 pm CDT on 04/13/2019. It was much warmer along the Gulf Coast, with readings in the 70s/80s.
 

By the afternoon of the 13th, the writing was on the wall that the warm front was not coming. Temperatures across much of the state were in the 40s and 50s, and it was too cool for anything but rain and some rumbles of thunder.

It was a nightmare to the south. Tornadoes (mostly rated EF2/EF3) ripped through Franklin, TX, Alto, TX, Vicksburg, MS, and Hamilton, MS, and caused extensive damage. Several people were killed, and there were dozens of injuries. In West Monroe, LA, a teenage boy was swept into a drainage ditch by high water and drowned.

 

Rapid pressure falls (more than 10 millibars in 6 hours) led to strong to damaging wind gusts over 40 mph in central and southern Arkansas during the afternoon of 04/13/2019.
In the picture: Rapid pressure falls (more than 10 millibars in 6 hours) led to strong to damaging wind gusts over 40 mph in central and southern Arkansas during the afternoon of 04/13/2019.
 

While it seemed the region was in the clear, rain and cool air kept the pressure elevated. At the same time, a storm system strengthened in Texas, and the pressure fell to the southwest. This created a pressure gradient, and this often leads to increased wind speeds. Gusts exceeded 40 mph in the southern half of the state during the afternoon/evening, and this went on for several hours.

A 47 mph gust was measured at the airport in Hot Springs (Garland County) at 240 pm CDT. A couple of hours later, a gust reached 53 mph at Little Rock National Airport (Pulaski County). Numerous trees (200 to 300 trees) were downed on the west side of Lake Ouachita at the Little Fir and Tompkins Bend Recreation Areas (both in Montgomery County). Trees were also toppled at Hot Springs (Garland County), Houston (Perry County), Maumelle (Pulaski County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), and west Little Rock (Pulaski County). Some trees were on homes and blocking roads. At least 30,000 power outages were reported.

To the east, there was a lot of severe weather on the 14th, with more than 500 reports of wind damage from New England through the mid-Atlantic states to the Florida panhandle. Around here, rain tapered off in the morning and temperatures dipped into the 30s in northwest Arkansas. In the Ozark Mountains, there was enough leftover moisture to yield snowflakes in places. There was little to no accumulation.

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed isolated severe thunderstorms with hail in western Arkansas before 100 am CDT on 04/18/2019. Thereafter, showers and thunderstorms became widespread, and heavy rain became the event headliner.
Radar at 1100 pm CDT (04/17)  |  Radar at 1200 am CDT (04/18)
Radar at 100 am CDT (04/18)  |  Radar at 200 am CDT (04/18)
Radar at 300 am CDT (04/18)  |  Radar at 400 am CDT (04/18)
Radar at 500 am CDT (04/18)  |  Radar at 600 am CDT (04/18)
Loop
In the pictures: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed isolated severe thunderstorms with hail in western Arkansas before 100 am CDT on 04/18/2019. Thereafter, showers and thunderstorms became widespread, and heavy rain became the event headliner.
 

More rain was on the horizon by late on the 17th, and it was expected to be heavy. This was preceded by a few severe storms in the west. Golf ball size hail was reported at Dover (Pope County), with half dollar size hail at Atkins (Pope County), and quarter size stones at Clarksville (Johnson County) and Russellville (Pope County). Following the hail, the deluge commenced.

Three to more than five inches of rain dumped in central and western Arkansas. Forty eight hour amounts through 700 am CDT on the 19th included 6.02 inches just northeast of Bryant (Saline County), 5.44 inches at Little Rock (Pulaski County), 4.89 inches at Benton (Saline County), 4.50 inches at North Little Rock (Pulaski County), 4.50 inches at Crystal Valley (Pulaski County), 4.01 inches at Big Fork (Polk County), 3.77 inches at Conway (Faulkner County), 3.48 inches at Waldron (Scott County), 3.34 inches at Bogg Springs (Polk County), and 3.30 inches at Booneville (Logan County).

 

In the picture: More than five inches of rain dumped in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on 04/18/2019. This shattered a daily record by over three inches.
 

The 5.44 inches of rain at Little Rock (Pulaski County) not only shattered a daily record on the 18th, it was the 15th wettest calendar day on record locally and the 5th wettest April calendar day.

 

In the picture: High water along Interstate 30 snarled traffic on 04/18/2019. The video is courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Transportation.
 

Given so much rain, there was high water along Interstate 30 near Vimy Ridge (Saline County). All lanes were closed for at least a couple of hours. In Macon (Pulaski County), flooding along Highway 107 stranded a vehicle, and people needed to be rescued. Many roads were flooded from Benton (Saline County) to the Little Rock (Pulaski County) area. Highway 11 near Hazen (Prairie County) was under water, as was Highway 31 around Woodlawn (Lonoke County). Many farm fields were converted into lakes.

 

There was minor to moderate flooding along several rivers in southern and eastern Arkansas on 04/18/2019.
In the picture: There was minor to moderate flooding along several rivers in southern and eastern Arkansas on 04/18/2019.
 

Rivers remained at elevated levels (common since December), and were pushed even higher in places. Minor to moderate flooding was noted along the Black, Cache, Little Missouri, Ouachita, Saline, and lower White Rivers.

 

Tornado reports in 2019 (through 04/23). The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
In the picture: Tornado reports in 2019 (through 04/23). The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
 

Through April 23rd, dozens of tornadoes were spawned in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. Only four tornadoes were counted here at home, with heavy to excessive rain dominating the headlines. There was more rain coming on the 24th/25th, and severe storms mostly went elsewhere.

In eastern Texas, a tornado (rated EF2) tore through San Augustine, TX around 1115 pm CDT on the 24th. Homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. The same storm that was responsible for the chaos produced another tornado (rated EF3) in Ruston, LA by 150 am CDT on the 25th. Louisiana Tech University took a direct hit. Two fatalities (a mother and her teenage son) resulted when a tree fell through a home. By 300 am CDT, a third tornado (rated EF2) headed into Arkansas from Louisiana and affected areas just south of Crossett (Ashley County).

 

There were a lot of severe weather and flood/flash flood headlines along a stalled front from the mid-Mississippi Valley to the southern Plains at 700 pm CDT on 04/30/2019.
In the picture: There were a lot of severe weather and flood/flash flood headlines along a stalled front from the mid-Mississippi Valley to the southern Plains at 700 pm CDT on 04/30/2019.
 

As April came to a close, it was looking very active again. A front was stalled just to the northwest of the state, with thunderstorms likely along and ahead of the front. In preparation for the event, headlines for severe weather and flash flooding were posted for many areas from Illinois to Texas. In northwest Arkansas, there was a Tornado Watch and Flood Watch in effect during the afternoon of the 30th.

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a supercell (storm exhibiting rotation) with a classic kidney bean shape near Bergman (Boone County) at 311 pm CDT on 04/30/2019. The tornado that resulted was witnessed north of a local school (photo courtesy of Julie Barnes). This was one of many tornadoes from southwest Missouri into northwest Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma, and northern Texas.
Tornado Producing Storm on Radar at 311 pm CDT (04/30)/Regional Storm Reports (04/30)
Photo of Tornado at Bergman (Boone County)
In the pictures: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a supercell (storm exhibiting rotation) with a classic kidney bean shape near Bergman (Boone County) at 311 pm CDT on 04/30/2019. The tornado that resulted was witnessed north of a local school (photo courtesy of Julie Barnes). This was one of many tornadoes from southwest Missouri into northwest Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma, and northern Texas. 
 

By 300 pm CDT, there were isolated strong storms in the northwest. One storm in particular spawned a weak tornado (rated EF1) near Bergman (Boone County). The tornado was on the ground for almost seven miles before dissipating. This was the sixth tornado of 2019 in Arkansas.

 

In the picture: A weak tornado (rated EF1) tracked between Bergman and Lead Hill (both in Boone County) on 04/30/2019.
 

A dozen homes were damaged, with at least a couple of mobile homes destroyed. Fortunately, there were no injuries reported. This event carried into the first few days of May, with multiple reports of wind damage early  on the 1st, and several weak tornadoes on the 2nd triggered by a mesoscale convective vortex (MCV).

 

Links of Interest
April 4-9, 2019 (stormy/mild to dry/warm)
April 12-14, 2019 (heavy rain/windy/severe storms to south/east)
April 17-18, 2019 (flooding rain/isolated severe storms)
April 24-25, 2019 (severe storms to south/more rain)
April 30-May 3, 2019 (severe storms/flooding rain)

 

Additional April Details
 
For more details about April, 2019...go to the "Temperatures and Precipitation" section below.

 

Temperatures and Precipitation
Temperatures were at or a little above average in April. Readings at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to right. April, 2019 Temperatures in North Little Rock

 

April, 2019 Precipitation in North Little Rock Precipitation was above to well above average, especially in the southern half of the state. Amounts at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to left.

 

To right, a look at precipitation across the state. April, 2019 Precipitation in Arkansas

 

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