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.
 
February, 2019 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
The rain came in February, and this kept rivers elevated. Most high water problems were in eastern Arkansas. Severe weather and ice were both players as temperatures fluctuated.

 

Record Temperatures
 
There were a few record high temperatures and one record low tied or broken in early February. Check out the records below.

 

Site Record Low (Date of Occurrence)
Stuttgart 23T (02/08)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Site Record High (Date of Occurrence)
Batesville 76 (02/04)
El Dorado 76T (02/04), 78 (02/05)
Fayetteville 74T (02/05)
Hot Springs 77 (02/04)
North Little Rock 70 (02/03), 76T (02/04)
Stuttgart 75T (02/04)
Texarkana 78T (02/04)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Battle of Winter and Spring/Very Wet/River Flooding
 
Winter headlines were posted to the north/west of Arkansas at 200 am CST on 02/07/2019. Severe weather and flood headlines were noted from northern sections of the state to the Ohio Valley.
In the picture: Winter headlines were posted to the north/west of Arkansas at 200 am CST on 02/07/2019. Severe weather and flood headlines were noted from northern sections of the state to the Ohio Valley.
 

There was a lot going on in the middle of the country to begin February. It felt like winter to the north and west of Arkansas, but conditions were more like spring around here. Record high temperatures in the 70s were established at several sites on the 4th/5th. By the 6th/7th, severe thunderstorms were in the forecast.

 

A manufactured home was rolled by a weak tornado (rated EF1) about 7.5 miles south-southeast of Yellville (Marion County) on 02/07/2019. The tornado was spawned by a supercell (storm with rotating updrafts and exhibiting features such as a hook echo and strong rotation) that was detected by the WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) at 423 am CST. Given the evidence, the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning.
Manufactured Home Rolled South of Yellville (Marion County)
Reflectivity at 423 am CST (02/07)  |  Storm Relative Velocity at 423 am CST (02/07)
Tornado Track Map (Marion County)
In the pictures: A manufactured home was rolled by a weak tornado (rated EF1) about 7.5 miles south-southeast of Yellville (Marion County) on 02/07/2019. The tornado was spawned by a supercell (storm with rotating updrafts and exhibiting features such as a hook echo and strong rotation) that was detected by the WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) at 423 am CST. Given the evidence, the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning. 
 

Shortly before 430 am CST on the 7th, a severe storm produced a weak tornado (rated EF1) south of Yellville (Marion County). It was the first tornado of 2019 in the state. Numerous trees and power lines were downed, with a few trees landing on houses and blocking Highway 14 temporarily. Several mobile homes were destroyed. At least three people were trapped in damaged structures, with one injury reported.

 

 

Temperatures dropped 40 to 50 degrees across much of Arkansas in the twenty four hour period ending at 600 am CST on 02/08/2019. While this was impressive, it did not make the Top 5 list for temperature changes in twenty four hours.
24 Temperature Change at 600 am CST (02/08)  |  Temperature Change Records
In the pictures: Temperatures dropped 40 to 50 degrees across much of Arkansas in the twenty four hour period ending at 600 am CST on 02/08/2019. While this was impressive, it did not make the Top 5 list for temperature changes in twenty four hours.
 

It got colder in a hurry as the 7th progressed. By 800 pm CST, readings were mostly in the 20s and 30s, with teens in the northwest. At 600 am CST on the 8th, the mercury dropped more than 40 degrees across much of the region in twenty four hours. At Little Rock (Pulaski County), it went from 71 degrees to 21 degrees. While this did not break any records, it was an attention getter. The low at Compton (Newton County) was 8 degrees, with 11 degrees at Devils Knob (Johnson County) and Lead Hill (Boone County), and 12 degrees at Clarksville (Johnson County) and Strickler (Washington County).

 

There was abundant moisture in Arkansas ahead of an incoming storm system at 600 pm CST on 02/11/2019. Precipitable water (PWAT), or water vapor contained in a vertical column of the atmosphere, was more than double the average. Values were as high as 1.35 inches at the North Little Rock Airport (Pulaski County) earlier in the day. Typically in mid-February, values are between 0.50 inch and 0.75 inch.
In the picture: There was abundant moisture in Arkansas ahead of an incoming storm system at 600 pm CST on 02/11/2019. Precipitable water (PWAT), or water vapor contained in a vertical column of the atmosphere, was more than double the average. Values were as high as 1.35 inches at the North Little Rock Airport (Pulaski County) earlier in the day. Typically in mid-February, values are between 0.50 inch and 0.75 inch.
 

It was a perfect setup for flooding heading into mid-February. The ground was wet (and could not hold much additional water) following six straight months of above average precipitation. Rivers were running high. The atmosphere was loaded with moisture on the 10th/11th, and a storm system in the Plains was set to wring it out of the clouds. It was a bad situation.

 

 

There was a moderate to high risk of flash flooding from central into northeast Arkansas on 02/11/2019.
In the picture: There was a moderate to high risk of flash flooding from central into northeast Arkansas on 02/11/2019.
 

The forecast called for several inches of rain from central into northeast Arkansas. Rain focused along and north of a front that was stalled over southeast sections of the state.

 

Seventy two hour precipitation through 600 am CST on 02/12/2019.
In the picture: Seventy two hour precipitation through 600 am CST on 02/12/2019.
 

By the time the event was over, more than half a foot of liquid was measured in places. Seventy two hour precipitation totals through 600 am CST on the 12th included 6.26 inches at Jonesboro (Craighead County), 6.02 inches at Newport (Jackson County), 5.18 inches at Blytheville (Mississippi County), 5.10 inches at Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County), 4.61 inches at Batesville (Independence County), 4.03 inches at North Little Rock (Pulaski County), and 4.01 inches at Russellville (Pope County).

These amounts exceeded what would normally fall from the sky in all of February. At Jonesboro (Craighead County), the weight of the rain caused the roof of a manufacturing plant to cave in.

 

The hydrograph for the Little Red River at Judsonia (White County) showed a crest of 35.2 feet at 1015 am CST on 02/12/2019. This was well above the flood stage of 30 feet.
In the picture: The hydrograph for the Little Red River at Judsonia (White County) showed a crest of 35.2 feet at 1015 am CST on 02/12/2019. This was well above the flood stage of 30 feet.
 

The rain was too much for rivers in eastern Arkansas. There was major flooding along portions of the Cache River (water threatening homes, and roads and farmland under water in Jackson and Woodruff Counties). Moderate to major flooding was noted along stretches of the Black and lower White Rivers.

At Newport (Jackson County), the White River topped out just over 30 feet on the 14th. At this level (four feet above the flood stage of 26 feet), major flooding is expected. Just south of town, an eroding levee was in danger of failing. An emergency was declared on the 12th, and people near the levee were advised to evacuate (voluntarily). As a precaution, sandbags were made available to local residents. The levee was stabilized with sandbags as well.

There was also moderate flooding along the somewhat flashy (rapid rises and falls) Little Red River at Judsonia (White County). The river crested roughly five feet above the flood stage during the morning of the 12th.

 

In the video: The Little Red River was overflowing in and around Judsonia (White County) on 02/12/2019. Nearby roads and fields were under water. The video is courtesy of Charles Peek.
 

Drone footage from Judsonia (White County) showed the impacts of the overflowing river. It looked more like a lake than a river in places, with roads inundated with water and barricaded in some cases.

Swollen rivers closed highways in the northeast, including Highway 37 between Cord (Independence County) and Tuckerman (Jackson County), Highway 14 between Oil Trough (Independence County) and Newport (Jackson County), Highway 37 near Grubbs (Jackson County), Highway 25 between Black Rock and Powhattan (both in Lawrence County), and Highway 166 northeast of Pocahontas (Randolph County).

There were numerous reports of flash flooding. At least two vehicles were swept off the pavement by rapidly rising creeks. The vehicles were just east of Springfield (Conway County) near Cadron Creek, and west of Hagarville (Johnson County) at the intersection of Highways 123 and 292 close to Minnow Creek. No injuries were reported in either incident. 

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed an area of mostly light precipitation affecting Arkansas at 1208 pm CST on 02/15/2019. There was mainly rain over the northern half of the state, with a wintry mix in parts of the Ozark Mountains of the northwest. Snow was found farther north in Missouri.
In the picture: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed an area of mostly light precipitation affecting Arkansas at 1208 pm CST on 02/15/2019. There was mainly rain over the northern half of the state, with a wintry mix in parts of the Ozark Mountains of the northwest. Snow was found farther north in Missouri.
 

A cold front plowed through Arkansas from the Plains early on the 15th. Temperatures dropped at or just below freezing through much of the afternoon in northern sections of the state. A storm system was on the heels of the front, and promised to bring some precipitation. Fortunately, moisture was limited locally, with a period of two of light freezing rain in the far north. Any impacts were minor. 

In Missouri, it was cold enough for snow. Toward Kansas City, MO, snow was moderate to heavy with temperatures in the teens at 1100 am CST. Snow accumulated on roads and made travel hazardous. East of the city, there was a huge pileup on Interstate 70. A total of 47 cars and trucks were involved. The highway had to be closed for seven hours. One person was killed.

 

The pattern aloft (at 500 mb or roughly 18,000 feet) showed a southwest wind flow aloft ahead of a strong storm system ("L") in the Rockies on 02/19/2019. Such a flow drove mild/moist conditions along the Gulf Coast into much colder conditions in Arkansas. The colliding air masses made the atmosphere unstable, and areas of rain and scattered thunderstorms developed. Freezing rain/ice was noted in northwest sections of the state.
In the picture: The pattern aloft (at 500 mb or roughly 18,000 feet) showed a southwest wind flow aloft ahead of a strong storm system ("L") in the Rockies on 02/19/2019. Such a flow drove mild/moist conditions along the Gulf Coast into much colder conditions in Arkansas. The colliding air masses made the atmosphere unstable, and areas of rain and scattered thunderstorms developed. Freezing rain/ice was noted in northwest sections of the state.
 

It dried out a bit from the 16th through the 18th, but there was a new storm system intensifying in the Rockies. This time, there was a deep south to southwest flow, and moisture levels increased markedly. Without a doubt, a deluge was coming.

 

In the video: The satellite loop showed enhanced clouds (green, yellow, and orange colors) working northward from the Gulf Coast into Arkansas on 02/19/2019. This was widespread rain and embedded thunderstorms, and was the result of warmer air to the south trying to penetrate into colder conditions locally.
 

Rain was heavy at times on the 19th, and there were hit and miss thunderstorms as well. There was no severe weather, but there was plenty of lightning. During the evening, an employee at Little Rock National Airport (Pulaski County) was struck by lightning while loading a plane. He was knocked unconscious for several minutes before being treated at a local hospital.

 

There was ice buildup in the trees (quarter to half inch accruals) at Western Grove (Newton County) during the evening of 02/19/2019. The photo is courtesy of Barbara Nichols.
In the picture: There was ice buildup in the trees (quarter to half inch accruals) at Western Grove (Newton County) during the evening of 02/19/2019. The photo is courtesy of Barbara Nichols.
 

At 600 pm CST on the 19th, it was 31 degrees at Harrison (Boone County) and 32 degrees at Mountain Home (Baxter County). Pockets of freezing rain were reported. Ice coated exposed objects, with quarter to half inch accruals from Harrison (Boone County) to Western Grove (Newton County). This led to power outages in places.

 

As a storm system ("L") approached from the west, warmth/moisture was pulled northward leading to hours of rain from the southern Plains to the Tennessee Valley on 02/22/2019.
Radar at 1138 am CST (02/22)  |  Radar at 148 pm CST (02/22)
Radar at 348 pm CST (02/22)  |  Radar at 618 pm CST (02/22)
Radar at 848 pm CST (02/22)  |  Radar at 1058 pm CST (02/22)
Loop
In the pictures: As a storm system ("L") approached from the west, warmth/moisture was pulled northward leading to hours of rain from the southern Plains to the Tennessee Valley on 02/22/2019.
 

Before the month came to a close, there was one more hurdle to clear. Another storm system was on the horizon, and was preceded by a warmup. It was too mild for any snow/ice. The event began with widespread rain from the southeast half of the state to the Tennessee Valley on the 22nd. At this point, temperatures were in the 40s/50s.

 

There was an enhanced to moderate risk of severe thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening of 02/23/2019, especially in portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
In the picture: There was an enhanced to moderate risk of severe thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening of 02/23/2019, especially in portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
 

The mercury slowly went up during the nighttime hours. By 700 am CST on the 23rd, it was 61 degrees at Monticello (Drew County) and 60 degrees at El Dorado (Union County). There was also a lot of fog, which was an indication that warmer air was coming. There was also a potential for severe thunderstorms, especially over the southeast counties.

 

 

Severe weather stayed to the east of Arkansas on 02/23/2019. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).
In the picture: Severe weather stayed to the east of Arkansas on 02/23/2019. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).
 

The good news is that the incoming system dragged a cold front into Arkansas during the morning. This was before the usual prime time for severe storms from 200 pm to 1000 pm CST (afternoon/evening). Peak heating often occurs during this time frame, which charges the atmosphere to fuel/energize developing storms. The front arrived too early to allow the environment to destabilize. The fireworks missed us, and ended up in areas to the east.

Tornadoes were spawned mainly from northeast Mississippi into northwest Alabama. The strongest of these (rated EF3) hit Columbus, MS. Homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed on the north side of town. A woman was killed when a building collapsed. A dozen injuries were reported.

 

Link of Interest
How Tornadoes are Rated

 

On the cold side of the system, heavy snow dumped in a narrow swath from western Kansas to Wisconsin and upper Michigan. Eight inches to more than a foot of powder fell in the swath, and gusts over 50 mph created blizzard conditions. Portions of Interstates 29, 35, 70, 80, and 90 were closed temporarily as roads became treacherous.

It had already been a snowy month where this blizzard materialized. At Minneapolis, MN and Omaha, NE, there had never been so much snow in February, with 36.2 inches and 27.0 inches piling up respectively (through the 24th).

 

More than ten inches of rain was common from eastern Arkansas to much of the Tennessee Valley in February, 2019.
In the picture: More than ten inches of rain was common from eastern Arkansas to much of the Tennessee Valley in February, 2019.
 

Here at home, three to six inches of precipitation was measured southeast of Little Rock (Pulaski County). This pushed February precipitation totals more than six inches above average at Jonesboro (Craighead County) and West Memphis (Crittenden County). Monthly amounts over ten inches were widespread across the eastern half of the state. So much rain in the east kept rivers high. Moderate to major flooding continued on the Cache and lower White Rivers. To make matters worse, these tributaries were slow to drain due to a swollen Mississippi River.

 

Precipitation in February, 2019
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 3.26 2.81 +0.45 116%
Harrison (NC AR) 3.89 2.64 +1.25 147%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 11.25 3.72 +7.53 302%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 5.05 2.76 +2.29 183%
Little Rock (C AR) 6.44 3.66 +2.78 176%
West Memphis (EC AR) 11.95 4.45 +7.50 269%
Texarkana (SW AR) 5.18 3.99 +1.19 130%
El Dorado (SC AR) 4.90 4.79 +0.11 102%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 6.77 4.06 +2.71 167%

 

There was more than a half foot of rain north of Jackson, MS to southwest of Nashville, TN. A state of emergency was declared in Tennessee due to flood issues. There was major flooding in Columbia, TN as the Duck River crested ten feet above the flood stage. The Tennessee River was on its way to the second highest level (since 1897) at Perryville, TN. A mudslide in Chattanooga, TN flattened a sandwich shop. The two to three inches of rain that Nashville, TN got on the 22nd/23rd pushed the monthly total to 13.47 inches. This made it the wettest February on record in the city (breaking the previous high mark of 12.37 inches in 1880). Tupelo, MS got 6.91 inches of rain in two days, with a record over 15 inches for the month.

 

Links of Interest
February 7-8, 2019 (severe storms/heavy rain/turning colder)
February 10-11, 2019 (too much rain/flooding)
February 15-20, 2019 (heavy rain/some ice)
February 22-24, 2019 (more rain/severe storms to east/windy)

 

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

 

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

 

February, 2019 Precipitation in North Little Rock Precipitation was above to well above average across much of Arkansas. Amounts at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to left.

 

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

 

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