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August, 2018 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
It was a Top 10 wet August in 2016 and 2017, and the rain came again in 2018. An unsettled pattern led to several rounds of showers and thunderstorms. At least nine locations reported record precipitation. It flooded in places, and there were a couple of rare tornadoes spawned.

 

Record Temperatures
 
There were a few record low tied or broken to begin August. Check out the records below.

 

Site Record Low (Date of Occurrence)
El Dorado 59T (08/02)
Stuttgart 65 (08/01), 65 (08/02), 66 (08/03)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Lots of Rain/Record Wet in Places
 
Precipitation and departure from average precipitation in August, 2018.
Precipitation (Aug, 2018)  |  Departure From Average Precipitation (Aug, 2018)
In the picture: Precipitation and departure from average precipitation in August, 2018.
 

In August, Arkansas was caught between a wet pattern to the northeast, and very dry/hot conditions to the south and west. Major flooding prompted a state of emergency in portions of Pennsylvania, upstate New York, and New Jersey. As this was happening, wildfires were torching large tracts of land in at least ten western states. After a developing drought and warmer than average weather to begin the summer, it appeared we were swaying toward a more soggy solution. 

In fact, there was flooding rain across much of the region (the 8th wettest August on record since 1895), and this mostly wiped out the drought. Monthly precipitation was more than 250 percent of normal at Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Jonesboro (Craighead County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). The deluge bypassed the southwest and far east, with below average liquid at El Dorado (Union County), Texarkana (Miller County), and West Memphis (Crittenden County).

 

Precipitation in August, 2018
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 6.18 3.24 +2.94 191%
Harrison (NC AR) 4.85 3.58 +1.27 135%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 9.70 2.54 +7.16 382%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 9.53 2.59 +6.94 368%
Little Rock (C AR) 6.59 2.59 +4.00 254%
West Memphis (EC AR) 2.38 3.06 -0.68 78%
Texarkana (SW AR) 1.21 2.91 -1.70 42%
El Dorado (SC AR) 1.61 3.11 -1.50 52%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 7.13 2.48 +4.65 288%

 

August rainfall records were broken at nine sites (in the Little Rock County Warning Area), mainly in northern and central sections of the state. This included Botkinburg 3 NE (Van Buren County), Blue Mountain Dam (Yell County), Clarksville 6 NE (Johnson County), Clinton (Van Buren County), Greenbrier (Faulkner County), Lake Maumelle (Pulaski County), Long Pool (Pope County), Murfreesboro 1W (Pike County), and Waldron (Scott County).

 

 

High pressure ("H") was replaced by a developing trough of low pressure ("L") and unsettled conditions in the forty eight hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 08/09/2018.
500 mb Map at 700 am CDT (08/07)  |  500 mb Map at 700 am CDT (08/08)
500 mb Map at 700 am CDT (08/09)  |  Loop
In the pictures: High pressure ("H") was replaced by a developing trough of low pressure ("L") and unsettled conditions in the forty eight hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 08/09/2018.
 

Summer heat and a lack of rain are usually blamed on a persistent ridge of high pressure. During the month, the high camped out along the Gulf Coast and also in the Rockies and points west. Storm systems went around the high to the north/east, and kept conditions unsettled locally.

Thunderstorms started making an appearance on the 6th following a hot day (high temperatures in the 90s). Isolated strong to severe storms produced wind damage in places. At Tuckerman (Jackson County), trees and power lines were blown down, with some trees on houses. More trees were downed at Pocahontas (Randolph County), with an aluminum roof removed from a building.

During the overnight hours of the 7th/early on the 8th, storms gradually worked from northern into central Arkansas and dumped over two inches of precipitation. Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on the 8th included 3.88 inches just south of Houston (Perry County), 3.48 inches at Conway (Faulkner County), 3.08 inches a few miles southeast of Searcy (White County), 2.50 inches at Blue Mountain Dam (Yell County), and 2.27 inches near Sherwood (Pulaski County).

 

Showers and thunderstorms continued for several hours over a small area northwest of Little Rock (Pulaski County) during the morning of 08/08/2018.
In the picture: Showers and thunderstorms continued for several hours over a small area northwest of Little Rock (Pulaski County) during the morning of 08/08/2018.
 

Rain continued through the morning of the 8th in a small area just northwest of Little Rock (Pulaski County). By 908 am CDT, there was a report of 10.63 inches of liquid at Roland (Pulaski County)!

 

 

In the picture: A motorist attempted to drive a pickup truck through flood water near Roland (Pulaski County) during the morning of 08/08/2018.
 

Not surprisingly, this much rain caused flooding of roads. Some of the water approached homes near town. After precipitation dissipated, thunderstorms flared up again in the afternoon (these were more brief), and caused additional high water problems (a road closed due to flooding) at Maumelle (Pulaski County).

 

In the video: The satellite showed a large cluster of thunderstorms over southern Arkansas during the afternoon/evening of 08/08/2018. Early the next morning, thunderstorms redeveloped over the south, and brought areas of heavy rain.
 

The focus shifted into southern Arkansas by the evening of the 8th. Thunderstorms became numerous, and were responsible for tree damage (due to high winds) from Malvern (Hot Spring County) to Carthage (Dallas County) and Rison (Cleveland County). There was also some street flooding in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County).

During the overnight hours and into the morning of the 9th, more storms pounded the south with torrential rain. Many locations received two to more than four inches of precipitation. Murfreesboro (Pike County) got a staggering 9.50 inches of rain by 700 am CDT on the 10th (a two day total)!

 

Clouds and precipitation kept high temperatures mostly below average at Harrison (Boone County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County) from August 13th through the 20th, 2018. Farther south, it stayed hot with at/above average readings at El Dorado (Union County).
Harrison (Boone County) High Temperatures (Aug 13-20)
Little Rock (Pulaski County) High Temperatures (Aug 13-20)
El Dorado (Union County) High Temperatures (Aug 13-20)
In the pictures: Clouds and precipitation kept high temperatures mostly below average at Harrison (Boone County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County) from August 13th through the 20th, 2018. Farther south, it stayed hot with at/above average readings at El Dorado (Union County).
 

It remained unsettled in the middle of August. Clouds and rain were most concentrated across the northern and central counties, and this is where afternoon temperatures stayed down. Maximum readings were generally in the 80s, and sometimes in the 70s (highs are normally in the upper 80s/lower 90s). It stayed hot in the southwest with mid and upper 90s common.

 

High temperatures were only in the 70s and 80s across all but southwest Arkansas on 08/17/2018. In the southwest, readings soared into the 90s.
In the picture: High temperatures were only in the 70s and 80s across all but southwest Arkansas on 08/17/2018. In the southwest, readings soared into the 90s.
 

On the 17th, for example, the mercury peaked at only 75 degrees in Clinton (Van Buren County) and 79 degrees at Russellville (Pope County). It was 80 degrees at Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and Newport (Jackson County). Meanwhile, it was 97 degrees at Texarkana (Miller County) and 98 degrees at El Dorado (Union County).

 

In the video: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed scattered strong to severe thunderstorms over the northern half of Arkansas during the evening of 08/16/2018.
 

As far as significant weather highlights, hit and miss strong to severe storms affected areas mainly north of Little Rock (Pulaski County) during the evening of the 16th. Scattered cloudbursts yielded 6.71 inches of rain at Blytheville (Mississippi County), with 3.28 inches at Damascus (Van Buren County), 2.88 inches at Corning (Clay County), 2.78 inches at Paragould (Greene County), and 2.68 inches at Marshall (Searcy County). Soybean fields turned into lakes in northern Mississippi County, and this resulted in crop damage according to the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. 

 

Links of Interest
More About Crop Losses in Northeast Arkansas
Photo Near Burdette (Mississippi County) of Soybean Field Under Water (courtesy of Jeremy Ross, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture)

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed two supercells (storms with rotating updrafts) near Clarksville (Johnson County) and northwest of Dover (Pope County) at 630 pm CDT on 08/19/2018. Rotation was noted in both storms via storm relative velocity images. More specifically, winds toward the radar (green/blue colors) were adjacent (gate-to-gate) to winds away from the radar (red/yellow colors).
Reflectivity at 630 pm CDT (08/19)  |  Storm Relative Velocity at 630 pm CDT (08/19)
In the pictures: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed two supercells (storms with rotating updrafts) near Clarksville (Johnson County) and northwest of Dover (Pope County) at 630 pm CDT on 08/19/2018. Rotation was noted in both storms via storm relative velocity images. More specifically, winds toward the radar (green/blue colors) were adjacent (gate-to-gate) to winds away from the radar (red/yellow colors).
 

A larger event unfolded on the 19th. The atmosphere was very unstable, and there was even some concern about tornadoes. This is rare considering the state gets less than one tornado in a typical August. Between 530 and 600 pm CDT, the fireworks began. Just west of Clarksville (Johnson County), a supercell (storm with rotating updrafts) popped up in a hurry. The storm produced quarter to golf ball size hail in a near town.

As the evening progressed, other severe storms developed in the northern half of the state. Tornado Warnings were issued for Conway, Johnson, Pope, and Van Buren Counties. Fortunately, it appears no tornadoes were spawned. There was a 60 mph gust reported at Houston (Perry County). Trees were toppled at Birdtown (Conway County), Lake Hamilton (Garland County), and Prim (Cleburne County).

 

Link of Interest
More About Rotation

 

There was golf ball size hail at Clarksville (Johnson County) on 08/19/2018. Just to the east, clouds looked threatening near Lamar (Johnson County). Later in the evening, torrential downpours flooded a grocery store in Clinton (Van Buren County). The photos are courtesy of Steven Warren, Quincy Vagell, and Jared Betnar.
Large Hail Near Clarksville (Johnson County)
Threatening Clouds Near Lamar (Johnson County)
Flooding at a Grocery Store in Clinton (Van Buren County)
In the pictures: There was golf ball size hail at Clarksville (Johnson County) on 08/19/2018. Just to the east, clouds looked threatening near Lamar (Johnson County). Later in the evening, torrential downpours flooded a grocery store in Clinton (Van Buren County). The photos are courtesy of Steven Warren, Quincy Vagell, and Jared Betnar.
 

The main headliner during this event was high water. Most of the areas affected by Tornado Warnings were hit with Flash Flood Warnings as storms kept developing. More than four inches of rain was unleashed in two hours, and that proved to be too much. Just northwest of Lamar (Johnson County), water covered Arkansas Highway 123 at U.S. Highway 64. Arkansas Highway 95 was flooded around Clinton (Van Buren County). In town, water flowed into homes and businesses. Rescues were necessary at Formosa (Van Buren County) due to flooding, and several roads were closed.

 

More than four inches of rain caused a nine foot rise on the Big Piney Creek near Dover (Pope County) during the evening of 08/19/2018. The flow jumped from 500 cubic feet per second (CFS) to 17,000 CFS in four hours.
Big Piney Creek Rainfall (Aug 14-21)  |  Big Piney Creek Hydrograph (Aug 14-21)
Big Piney Creek Streamflow (Aug 14-21)
In the pictures: More than four inches of rain caused a nine foot rise on the Big Piney Creek near Dover (Pope County) during the evening of 08/19/2018. The flow jumped from 500 cubic feet per second (CFS) to 17,000 CFS in four hours.
 

The Big Piney Creek climbed nine feet and overflowed. Roads near Treat (Pope County) were impassible due to water and storm debris. A similar rise occurred along the South Fork of the Little Red River at Clinton (Van Buren County).

 

The satellite showed clusters of thunderstorms blowing up in eastern Arkansas ahead of a cold front during the afternoon of 08/20/2018. This was in advance of an unusually strong summer storm system ("L") in northern Missouri. Smoke from western wildfires was working south and east through the Plains.
In the picture: The satellite showed clusters of thunderstorms blowing up in eastern Arkansas ahead of a cold front during the afternoon of 08/20/2018. This was in advance of an unusually strong summer storm system ("L") in northern Missouri. Smoke from western wildfires was working south and east through the Plains.
 

Active weather continued on the 20th when a cold front plowed through the region. One last round of storms tore through locations toward the Mississippi River. There were two weak tornadoes (rated EF0/EF1) counted. These were a few miles west of Paragould and just east of Marmaduke (both in Greene County). Damage was minor, with a mobile home overturned and a storage shed destroyed. Elsewhere, straight-line winds pushed trees onto houses and peeled the roof back on an elementary school in Brinkley (Monroe County). Multiple trees were flattened at Crossett (Ashley County). There were multiple reports of wind damage in northern Louisiana, with a 76 mph gust measured at Monroe, LA. 

 

The satellite showed scattered to numerous thunderstorms developing over the northern half of Arkansas between 300 pm and 600 pm CDT on 08/30/2018.
Satellite at 300 pm CDT (08/30)  |  Satellite at 400 pm CDT (08/30)
Satellite at 500 pm CDT (08/30)  |  Satellite at 600 pm CDT (08/30)
Loop
In the pictures: The satellite showed scattered to numerous thunderstorms developing over the northern half of Arkansas between 300 pm and 600 pm CDT on 08/30/2018.
 

After several days of dry weather and at/above average temperatures, storms returned to finish August. A weak cold front arrived from the north on the 29th and stalled near the Arkansas and Missouri border. Surrounding the front, there were scattered thunderstorms during the afternoon. Just east of Jonesboro (Craighead County), one storm became severe and caused damage to power poles and power lines. Lightning struck a cabinet shop southwest of Hot Springs (Garland County). This started a large structural fire.

 

Given a lot of turbulence surrounding thunderstorms, mammatus clouds became widespread over northwest Arkansas during the late afternoon and early evening of 08/30/2018.
In the picture: Given a lot of turbulence surrounding thunderstorms, mammatus clouds became widespread over northwest Arkansas during the late afternoon and early evening of 08/30/2018. The photo is courtesy of Nick Grote via Twitter.
 

It was a repeat performance on the 30th. Storms ignited early in the day across eastern Kansas, and worked into southwest Missouri. During the afternoon and early evening, the action spread into northern Arkansas. Storms blew down trees at Waldron (Scott County). A few miles west of town along Highway 248, trees caught on fire after being zapped by lightning. More trees were leveled near Mount Ida and Norman (both in Montgomery County).

As far as rainfall for the two day event, Jonesboro (Craighead County) received 3.81 inches. There was more than two inches at Alicia (Lawrence County), Calico Rock (Izard County), Omaha (Boone County), Parks (Scott County), and Waldron (Scott County).

 

Links of Interest
August 6-9, 2018 (areas of flooding rain/isolated severe storms)
August 12-20, 2018 (flooding rain/severe storms)
August 29-30, 2018 (few severe storms/pockets of heavy rain)

 

Additional August Details
 
For more details about August, 2018...go to the "Temperatures and Precipitation" section below.

 

Temperatures and Precipitation
Temperatures were a little below average in August. Readings at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to right. August, 2017 Temperatures in North Little Rock

 

August, 2018 Precipitation in North Little Rock Precipitation was above to well above average at most locations in August. It was drier than normal in the southwest. Amounts at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to left.

 

To right, a look at precipitation across the state. August, 2018 Precipitation in Arkansas

 

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