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Monthly Storm Reports and Storm Data
Storm Reports
Are you interested in what happened during a recent event? Check out the report below.
 
February, 2020 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
There was plenty of rain in February. This led to high rivers and some flooding/flash flooding. Winter was not quite done, with the coldest air of the season in spots and at least a couple of instances of light snow. Any severe weather was isolated.

 

Record Temperatures
 
There were a few record low temperatures broken in February. Check out the records below.

 

Site Record Low (Date of Occurrence)
Batesville 20 (02/21)
Jacksonville 21 (02/14)
North Little Rock 21 (02/14)
Stuttgart 27 (02/21), 26 (02/22)

 

Plenty of Rain/A Taste of Winter at Times
 
The first two months of climatological winter (December, 2019 and January, 2020) featured above to well above average temperatures across much of the country.
In the picture: The first two months of climatological winter (December, 2019 and January, 2020) featured above to well above average temperatures across much of the country.
 

Cold air was a stranger through the first two months of winter across much of the country. In Arkansas, temperatures in December, 2019 and January, 2020 were several degrees above average. Heading into February, the mild streak continued, with the mercury soaring into the 70s and 80s in most of the state on the 2nd. It was 85 degrees at Silver Hill (Searcy County), which was apparently the warmest reading nationwide on that day. While it felt like spring, winter was not quite finished.

 

Forecast maps showed a cold front pushing through Arkansas from the north, with a storm system ("L") forming along the front in eastern Texas and heading toward the Ohio Valley in the forty eight hour period ending at 600 am CST on 02/06/2020. Rain fell across the region during much of this time frame. Snow and ice were noted to the north and west of the state. Some light snow finally made it into the area by the end of the period.
Forecast Map at 600 am CST (02/04)  |  Forecast Map at 600 pm CST (02/04)
Forecast Map at 600 am CST (02/05)  |  Forecast Map at 600 pm CST (02/05)
Forecast Map at 600 am CST (02/06)  |  Loop
In the pictures: Forecast maps showed a cold front pushing through Arkansas from the north, with a storm system ("L") forming along the front in eastern Texas and heading toward the Ohio Valley in the forty eight hour period ending at 600 am CST on 02/06/2020. Rain fell across the region during much of this time frame. Snow and ice were noted to the north and west of the state. Some light snow finally made it into the area by the end of the period.
 

On the 4th/5th, a cold front swept through the region from the north. The front brought areas of rain and a few rumbles of thunder. The front eventually stalled along the Gulf Coast, and a storm system formed along the front in eastern Texas. Surrounding the developing system, it was cold enough for significant wintry precipitation just to the north and west of Arkansas. It was mild to the south/east, and a perfect environment for severe thunderstorms and heavy to excessive rain.

 

In the picture: A visible satellite image showed a band of heavy snow in portions of Texas and Oklahoma during the morning of 02/06/2020.
 

Late on the 4th/early on the 5th, snow piled up in a hurry in northern sections of the Lone Star State, with 14 inches of powder at Jayton, TX, and up to a foot of accumulation at Snyder, TX. Almost 8 inches of snow was measured at Midland, TX, which was the largest total since 10.6 inches in January, 2012. Farther northeast, roughly 5 inches of snow blanketed Oklahoma City, OK, with 2 to 3 inches of snow at Columbia, MO.

 

Severe weather reports in the twenty four hour period ending at 600 am CST on 02/06/2020. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
In the picture: Severe weather reports in the twenty four hour period ending at 600 am CST on 02/06/2020. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
 

Multiple tornadoes were spawned in Mississippi and Alabama on the 5th. Near Demopolis, AL, a couple of mobile homes were destroyed by weak tornado (rated EF1), with one person killed. A stronger tornado (rated EF2) was on the ground for 60 miles through Jasper, Clarke, and Lauderdale Counties in Mississippi. Several homes and a number of chicken houses suffered structural damage.

 

Up to an inch of snow accumulated in parts of northern and western Arkansas in the forty eight hour period ending at 600 pm CST on 02/06/2020.
In the picture: Up to an inch of snow accumulated in parts of northern and western Arkansas in the forty eight hour period ending at 600 pm CST on 02/06/2020.
 

The aforementioned storm system in Texas headed toward the Ohio Valley on the 6th. Moisture wrapping around the system yielded light snow early in the day in parts of the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains of the north and west. About an inch of snow fell at Bass and Vendor (both in Newton County), Bruno (Marion County), Marshall (Searcy County), and Queen Wilhelmina State Park (Polk County).

 

The WSR-88D showed scattered showers and a few thunderstorms across Arkansas at 1029 pm CST on 02/09/2020. There was a severe storm near Chidester (Ouachita County). Increasing winds with height pushed the storm to the northeast at 50 to 55 mph, and caused the storm to lean with height (shown in a four panel inset). Strong updrafts forced moisture well aloft where it was cold, and lots of ice/hail was detected (reflectivity values above 65 DBZ).
In the picture: The WSR-88D showed scattered showers and a few thunderstorms across Arkansas at 1029 pm CST on 02/09/2020. There was a severe storm near Chidester (Ouachita County). Increasing winds with height pushed the storm to the northeast at 50 to 55 mph, and caused the storm to lean with height (shown in a four panel inset). Strong updrafts forced moisture well aloft where it was cold, and lots of ice/hail was detected (reflectivity values above 65 DBZ).
 

Another cold front visited on the 9th. While the pattern did not favor much in the way of severe weather ahead of the front, there were isolated severe storms during the evening. Hen egg size hail was reported five miles northwest of Ashdown (Little River County) and near Tollette (Howard County). There was golf ball size hail at Chidester (Ouachita County), and ping pong ball size hail a few miles southwest of Bluff City (Nevada County).

 

A front was stalled to the southeast of Arkansas at 300 pm CST on 02/11/2020. Temperatures varied by 30 to 40 degrees across the front, making the atmosphere unstable.
In the picture: A front was stalled to the southeast of Arkansas at 300 pm CST on 02/11/2020. Temperatures varied by 30 to 40 degrees across the front, making the atmosphere unstable.
 

Outside of a little severe weather, rain was the main headliner. Late on the 10th and into the 11th, the front was south of the area and in the process of coming to a halt. At 300 pm CST on the 11th, temperatures were only in the 30s and 40s locally. It was much warmer on the other side of the front, with 60s to 70s common and some 80s in places.

 

In the video: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed widespread rain over central and southern Arkansas during the evening of 02/11/2020.
 

Storm systems tracking across the southern United States interacted with the front, and forced contrasting air masses to collide. This triggered several rounds of rain from the 10th through the 12th, especially in central and southern Arkansas.    

 

Three to more than five inches of rain dumped over central and southern Arkansas in the seventy two hour period ending at 600 pm CST on 02/12/2020.
In the picture: Three to more than five inches of rain dumped over central and southern Arkansas in the seventy two hour period ending at 600 pm CST on 02/12/2020.
 

Over time, the rain added up. In the seventy two hour period ending at 600 pm CST on the 12th, three to more than five inches of rain was common from Little Rock (Pulaski County) southward. Amounts equaled or exceeded five inches in the far south at Ashdown and Millwood Dam (both in Little River County), Crossett and Portland (both in Ashley County), Eudora (Chicot County), Lewisville (Lafayette County), Monticello (Drew County), and Texarkana (Miller County). 

This was the largest precipitation event of the month, and contributed heavily to above average quantities (by two to more than three inches across the south) in February.

 

Precipitation in February, 2020
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 3.47 2.81 +0.66 123%
Harrison (NC AR) 3.76 2.64 +1.12 142%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 4.53 3.72 +0.81 122%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 2.59 2.76 -0.17 94%
Little Rock (C AR) 6.02 3.66 +2.36 164%
West Memphis (EC AR) 5.75 4.45 +1.30 129%
Texarkana (SW AR) 7.61 3.99 +3.62 191%
El Dorado (SC AR) 7.39 4.79 +2.60 154%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 7.33 4.06 +3.27 181%

 

The soil was very wet (well above normal moisture) in many areas east of the Rockies on 02/12/2020.
In the picture: The soil was very wet (well above normal moisture) in many areas east of the Rockies on 02/12/2020.
 

During this event, not only were the central and southern counties pounded with downpours, so were areas from eastern Texas through northern Louisiana, northern Mississippi, southern Tennessee, and northern Alabama. Flooding was extensive, with many roads under water.

Near Starkville, MS, the Oktibbeha County Lake Dam was in danger of failing. A shelter was opened in case mandatory evacuations were ordered. A similar situation unfolded in January after a deluge. On the 14th, the Mayor of Jackson, MS made evacuations mandatory on the northeast side of the city as the Pearl River rose. The Governor of Mississippi declared a state of emergency the next day. The river topped out just under 37 feet on the 17th, or the third highest crest in nearly 150 years of record keeping. Not far from Savannah, TN, a hillside adjacent to a swollen Tennessee River collapsed on the 15th. Two homes plunged into the current below and were destroyed. At Lacey's Spring, AL, way too much water caused U.S. Highway 231 to deteriorate. The highway was shut down indefinitely on the 13th.  

In the bigger picture, much of the country east of the Rockies had a nearly saturated ground. This did not bode well for the upcoming growing season, with many fields far too muddy for planting.

 

Tributaries in southern and eastern Arkansas were elevated, with minor flooding along the Black, Cache, Ouachita, and lower White Rivers on 02/13/2020.
In the picture: Tributaries in southern and eastern Arkansas were elevated, with minor flooding along the Black, Cache, Ouachita, and lower White Rivers on 02/13/2020.
 

Back at home, there were some high water issues noted. Rivers were high in southern and eastern sections of the state, with minor flooding at most forecast points along the Black, Cache, Ouachita, and lower White Rivers.

 

In the picture: Several highways were closed due to flooding (because of excessive rain and/or overflowing rivers) on 02/14/2020. The information was provided by the Arkansas Department of Transportation via Twitter.
 

Flooding due to rain or overflowing rivers closed several highways. Sections of State Highways 7, 37, 83, 128, 275, and 364 were closed in Clark, Cross, Jackson, Lincoln, Ouachita, and Union Counties (in southern and eastern Arkansas).

 

Temperatures were in the teens and 20s at 600 am CST on 02/14/2020.
In the picture: Temperatures were in the teens and 20s at 600 am CST on 02/14/2020.
 

The rain finally exited to the east late on the 12th. On the heels of the rain was a secondary front on the 13th that ushered in gusty northwest winds along with colder and drier conditions.

By 600 am CST on the 14th, temperatures were in the teens and 20s. It was only 11 degrees at Harrison (Boone County) and Mountain Home (Baxter County). This was the coldest air of the winter at both sites. The low for the morning was 22 degrees at Little Rock (Pulaski County). It had not been this cold on the 14th since 1943, and was tied for the fifth coldest Valentine's Day on record.

 

The forecast map showed a stalled front along the Gulf Coast early on 02/20/2020. An active Subtropical Jet drove a storm system ("L") across the southern United States. The system interacted with the front, and tapped into abundant moisture to bring areas of heavy rain from eastern Texas to Georgia (including southern Arkansas). Meanwhile, clockwise flow around Arctic high pressure ("H") to the north yielded a cold/dry northeast wind. While this prevented much moisture from getting into areas north of Little Rock (Pulaski County), it was cold enough for chances of light snow or flurries.
In the picture: The forecast map showed a stalled front along the Gulf Coast early on 02/20/2020. An active Subtropical Jet drove a storm system ("L") across the southern United States. The system interacted with the front, and tapped into abundant moisture to bring areas of heavy rain from eastern Texas to Georgia (including southern Arkansas). Meanwhile, clockwise flow around Arctic high pressure ("H") to the north yielded a cold/dry northeast wind. While this prevented much moisture from getting into areas north of Little Rock (Pulaski County), it was cold enough for chances of light snow or flurries.
 

It warmed up by the 18th, with 50s across the northern counties, and 60s/70s farther south. It was 74 degrees at El Dorado (Union County) and 72 degrees at Monticello (Drew County). Yet another cold front from Canada was on the horizon.

As the front neared, rain and scattered thunderstorms developed during the morning in central Arkansas. Malvern (Hot Spring County) picked up 4.23 inches of liquid, with 2.60 inches at Hot Springs National Park (Garland County), 2.12 inches at Big Fork (Polk County) and Keo (Lonoke County), and 1.81 inches at DeGray Lake State Park (Clark/Hot Spring Counties) and Mount Ida (Montgomery County).

Roads flooded in Malvern (Hot Spring County), and this prevented the delivery of newspapers. Water was over Highway 229 north of Poyen (Grant County). Several streets were closed near Traskwood (Saline County) and Tull (Grant County) due to high water.

 

About an inch of snow accumulated just north of Ozone (Johnson County) early on 02/20/2020. The photo is courtesy of Crissy Stepp.
In the picture: About an inch of snow accumulated just north of Ozone (Johnson County) early on 02/20/2020. The photo is courtesy of Crissy Stepp.
 

The front settled to the south on the 19th, with Arctic high pressure to follow. Rain continued over the southern counties. There were one to two inch amounts in the far south at El Dorado (Union County), Monticello (Drew County), and Texarkana (Miller County). Around a quarter inch was measured at Little Rock (Pulaski County). Moisture was very limited (less than a tenth of an inch) farther north due to dry air around the incoming Arctic high. This is where it was cold enough to support light snow, and a lack of moisture meant accumulations would be minimal.

Light snow materialized across the north early on the 20th, with up to an inch of powder at Ozone and just southeast of Yale (both in Johnson County). Before precipitation ended, there was a dusting of snow in central Arkansas (less than a half inch) at Beebe (White County), Bee Branch (Van Buren County), Joy (White County), North Little Rock (Pulaski County), Perryville (Perry County), and Petit Jean State Park (Conway County).

High temperatures on the 20th were in the 40s. While this was not exactly frigid, it helped bring monthly average readings down. From the 1st through the 10th, readings were four to eight degrees above average. These numbers were cut in half (two to four degrees above average) through the 20th. 

 

Departure From Average Temperatures in February, 2020 (Through the 20th)
Site Departures (+/-) Feb 1-10 Departures (+/-) Feb 1-20
Fayetteville (NW AR) +7.2° +4.5°
Harrison (NC AR) +6.2° +1.6°
Jonesboro (NE AR) +7.2° +3.3°
Fort Smith (WC AR) +4.3° +2.4°
Little Rock (C AR) +5.2° +2.1°
West Memphis (EC AR) +7.5° +3.7°
Texarkana (SW AR) +4.1° +1.4°
El Dorado (SC AR) +6.4° +3.1°
Pine Bluff (SE AR) +5.8° +2.5°

 

The satellite showed isolated thunderstorms in northeast Arkansas at 210 pm CST on 02/24/2020.
In the picture: The satellite showed isolated thunderstorms in northeast Arkansas at 210 pm CST on 02/24/2020.
 

There was one more round of rain on the 23rd ahead of a storm system in the central and southern Plains. What fell from the sky was light, with totals from a tenth to a half inch at most locations. Rain departed during the morning of the 24th.

In the afternoon, the system was nearby and provided cold air aloft. Meanwhile, it was much warmer near the ground (readings mostly in the 60s to lower 70s). This made the atmosphere unstable, with isolated thunderstorms popping up in northeast Arkansas. Just after 100 pm CST, the focus was on a thunderstorm near Mountain View (Stone County). While the storm was low topped (under 30000 feet), it showed signs of rotation. This continued for at least an hour as the storm tracked to the northeast.

 

Widespread rain was out of Arkansas by the late morning of 02/24/2020, with isolated thunderstorms northeast of Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the afternoon.
In the picture: Widespread rain was out of Arkansas by the late morning of 02/24/2020, with isolated thunderstorms northeast of Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the afternoon.
 

By 200 pm CST, the storm was nearing Sidney (Sharp County), and there were no reports of damage to this point. In the next few minutes, at least three houses were damaged north of Highway 58 toward Evening Shade (Sharp County).

 

 

Trees were also downed. At the time the chaos occurred, the radar showed the storm surging forward and then rapidly weakening. This suggested powerful gusts (over 60 mph) affected the area.

 

Links of Interest
February 4-6, 2020 (rain to light snow)
February 9-14, 2020 (heavy rain/turning colder)
February 18-20, 2020 (rain to light snow)
February 24-26, 2020 (isolated severe storms/light snow)

 

Additional February Details
 
For more details about February, 2020...go to the "Temperatures and Precipitation" section below.

 

Temperatures and Precipitation
Temperatures were at or slightly above normal in February. Readings at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to right. February, 2020 Temperatures in North Little Rock

 

February, 2020 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, 2020 Precipitation in Arkansas

 

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