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January, 2019 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
This was a January with not a lot of extremes in Arkansas. It featured the usual roller coaster temperatures, but nothing record breaking. There was some snow/ice, but not enough to be crippling. Severe weather was almost non-existent. It rained enough to keep rivers elevated.

 

Record Temperatures
 
There were no record high/low temperatures tied or broken in January.

 

 Mostly Mild With Blasts of Cold Air/Wet Again with Some Snow
 
A deep southerly flow and lots of moisture were noted between a storm system ("L") over the southwest United States and a ridge of high pressure ("H") over southern Florida on 12/30/2018.
In the picture: A deep southerly flow and lots of moisture were noted between a storm system ("L") over the southwest United States and a ridge of high pressure ("H") over southern Florida on 12/30/2018.
 

There was an active Subtropical Jet (river of air over the southern United States) to begin January. A storm system was set to bring increasing moisture and a large batch of rain on the 2nd and 3rd. Meanwhile, there were snowflakes from the Texas panhandle into southwest and central Oklahoma. Four to as much as eight inches of snow accumulated in places. Six to seven inches of snow was measured at Moore, OK, with four to five inches on the southwest side of Oklahoma City, OK.

 

In the video: Initially, a temperature cross section showed below freezing temperatures (blue shading) from the ground up west of Arkansas on 01/03/2019. With time, the atmosphere warmed toward Little Rock (Pulaski County), with melting aloft and little if any snow locally.
 

While data showed it was cold enough for snow in the southern Plains, there was enough warming as the system approached to keep snow from developing in Arkansas on the 4th. Precipitation stayed in the form of liquid locally. Southern and western sections of the state picked up one to more than two inches of rain. Less than an inch of precipitation fell in the northeast.

 

Forecast maps showed a storm system ("L") tracking across the southern United States and spreading mainly rain into Arkansas in the forty two hour period ending at 600 am CST on 01/13/2019. Light mixed precipitation was possible in northern sections of the state, with snow from the central Plains to the mid-Mississippi and Ohio Valleys.
Forecast Map at 1200 pm CST (01/11)  |  Forecast Map at 600 pm CST (01/11)
Forecast Map at 1200 am CST (01/12)  |  Forecast Map at 600 am CST (01/12)
Forecast Map at 600 pm CST (01/12)  |  Forecast Map at 600 am CST (01/13)
Loop
In the pictures: Forecast maps showed a storm system ("L") tracking across the southern United States and spreading mainly rain into Arkansas in the forty two hour period ending at 600 am CST on 01/13/2019. Light mixed precipitation was possible in northern sections of the state, with snow from the central Plains to the mid-Mississippi and Ohio Valleys.
 

A wet pattern continued heading into the middle of the month. Another storm system approached from the southwest on the 11th, and produced mainly rain across the region.

 

Temperatures at 600 pm CST on 01/11/2019.
In the picture: Temperatures at 600 pm CST on 01/11/2019.
 

Temperatures at most locations were in the mid 30s to upper 40s. In far northern sections of the state, readings hovered around 32 degrees in the higher elevations of the Ozark Mountains. It was the same story from Mountain Home (Baxter County) eastward to Salem (Fulton County). Given this, pockets of freezing rain developed. Some ice collected in the trees across parts of the north. In general, the ice was minor and caused spotty power outages. Roads were generally wet, with little if any travel issues.

 

In the picture: By 900 pm CST on 01/12/2019, more than a foot of snow dumped in parts of central and eastern Missouri.
 

It was colder from Missouri to Indiana, and the setup was perfect for heavy snow. Winter Storm Warnings were posted in these areas by the National Weather Service. By the morning of the 12th, parts of central and eastern Missouri received up to a foot of snow. As of 900 pm CST, a whopping 20 to 21 inches of powder piled up at the University of Missouri (in Columbia, MO), with 19 inches at Mexico, MO, 17 inches at Fulton, MO, and 15 inches at Jefferson City, MO.

 

In the video: The satellite loop showed lots of clouds (blue/white/green colors) from the Tennessee Valley to the central Gulf Coast during the morning of 01/19/2019. This is where scattered strong to severe thunderstorms popped up in a mild atmosphere. More clouds were in northern Arkansas, with areas of snow developing in much colder air.
 

It was far too mild for winter weather early on the 19th. During the wee hours, showers and scattered thunderstorms became widespread. One storm produced golfball size hail at Foreman (Little River County). Lightning struck a home near Butlerville (Lonoke County) and caused minor damage. 

By 1000 am CST, the weather was rapidly changing. Northern and western sections of Arkansas had temperatures in the 20s and 30s. It was 26 degrees at Fayetteville (Washington County) and 28 degrees at Harrison (Boone County). Given northwest winds at 15 to 20 mph and some gusts over 30 mph, wind chill index values were in the single digits at several locations. Meanwhile, it was still 59 degrees at Monticello (Drew County) and 57 degrees at West Memphis (Crittenden County).

At this time, drier air mostly shut off rain across the southern counties. Farther north/west, there was enough moisture to keep precipitation going. As temperatures dropped, it was cold enough for snow.  

 

Estimated snow accumulations on 01/19/2019.
In the picture: Estimated snow accumulations on 01/19/2019.
 

One to three inches of snow was common across the north and west. There were spotty reports of more than four inches, and isolated instances of half foot accumulations.

 

Half of foot of snow fell at Booneville (Logan County) during the morning of 01/19/2019. The photo is courtesy of Jamey Dodson and Brad Taylor.
In the picture: Half of foot of snow fell at Booneville (Logan County) during the morning of 01/19/2019. The photo is courtesy of Jamey Dodson and Brad Taylor. Click to enlarge.
It was a winter wonderland along Highway 27 south of Marshall (Searcy County) on 01/20/2019. The photo is courtesy of Bob King.
In the picture: It was a winter wonderland along Highway 27 south of Marshall (Searcy County) on 01/20/2019. The photo is courtesy of Bob King. Click to enlarge.
 

The highest amounts included 7 inches at Big Flat (Baxter County), 6 inches at Booneville (Logan County), 5 inches at Hardy (Sharp County) and Pocahontas (Randolph County), and 4 inches at Mansfield (Scott County), Marshall (Searcy County), Mountain View (Stone County), and Mount Magazine (Logan County).

 

 

Reports of severe weather in the forty eight hour period ending at 600 am CST on 01/20/2019. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
In the picture: Reports of severe weather in the forty eight hour period ending at 600 am CST on 01/20/2019. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
 

To the south/east, at least a half dozen mostly weak tornadoes (rated EF0/EF1) were spawned in portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The strongest of these (rated EF2) tore through areas near Wetumpka, AL and injured four people.

 

Temperatures were largely above average at Little Rock (Pulaski County) in January, 2019 (through the 23rd).
In the picture: Temperatures were largely above average at Little Rock (Pulaski County) in January, 2019 (through the 23rd).
 

It warmed up again by the 22nd and there was rain in the forecast. Temperatures climbed into the 50s to lower 60s. Readings were above average, which was nothing new. This was the fifteenth day with at/above average temperatures during the month at Little Rock (Pulaski County).

 

In the picture: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed widespread rain over central and eastern Arkansas during the early morning hours of 01/23/2019. Precipitation was ending in the west.
 

Rain showed up during the afternoon and continued into the overnight hours. In the predawn hours of the 23rd, rain started tapering off from the west. At the same time, sharply colder air followed a cold front, and there were a few reports of sleet/light snow on the back edge of the precipitation. A dusting a snow was reported in the far northwest at Siloam Springs (Benton County).

As far as rainfall, one to more than two inches of liquid was common in much of southern, central, and eastern Arkansas. Forty eight hour amounts through 600 am CST on the 24th included 3.32 inches at Fordyce (Dallas County), 2.34 inches at El Dorado (Union County), 1.96 inches at Monticello (Drew County), 1.80 inches at Felsenthal Lock and Dam (Union County), 1.78 inches at Crossett (Ashley County), 1.61 inches at North Little Rock (Pulaski County), and 1.59 inches at Pine Bluff (Jefferson County).

 

There was minor flooding on several area rivers in southern and eastern Arkansas on 01/24/2019.
In the picture: There was minor flooding on several area rivers in southern and eastern Arkansas on 01/24/2019.
 

Minor flooding continued or developed along portions of the Black, Cache, Ouachita, and lower White Rivers. Too much rain was keeping area tributaries high. For the sixth month in a row, precipitation was above average across the state.

 

Precipitation in January, 2019
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 3.27 2.84 +0.43 115%
Harrison (NC AR) 4.40 2.56 +1.84 172%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 3.79 3.43 +0.36 110%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 3.94 2.81 +1.13 140%
Little Rock (C AR) 3.75 3.55 +0.20 106%
West Memphis (EC AR) 4.48 4.18 +0.30 107%
Texarkana (SW AR) 3.31 3.40 -0.09 97%
El Dorado (SC AR) 5.49 4.30 +1.19 128%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 4.18 3.76 +0.42 111%

 

Amounts were in the plus category by more than an inch at El Dorado (Union County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), and Harrison (Boone County).

 

A strong area of low pressure ("L") headed from Canada toward the Great Lakes early on 01/30/2019. The low was surrounded by dangerously cold air (temperatures well below zero) from the Dakotas to the Ohio Valley.
In the picture: A strong area of low pressure ("L") headed from Canada toward the Great Lakes early on 01/30/2019. The low was surrounded by dangerously cold air (temperatures well below zero) from the Dakotas to the Ohio Valley.
 

The month finished with the coldest air of the winter so far and well below zero temperatures from the Dakotas to the Ohio Valley on the 30th. Subzero readings were experienced as far south as St. Louis, MO and Cincinnati, OH.

 

Temperatures were 20 degrees below zero or colder in parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin at 1200 pm CST on 01/30/2019.
In the picture: Temperatures were 20 degrees below zero or colder in parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin at 1200 pm CST on 01/30/2019.
 

The low temperature at Chicago, IL was 23 degrees below zero on the 30th. The last time it was this cold was in January, 1985. The high for the day was only 10 below zero. Early on the 31st, an all-time record low was established at Rockford, IL. It was 30 degrees below zero, surpassing the previous mark of 27 degrees below zero on January 10, 1982. 

It was cold enough to declare a state of emergency in Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Numerous schools and universities were closed. Thousands of flights were delayed or cancelled.

Arkansas got a taste of this Arctic air mass, but just barely. The high temperature in Little Rock (Pulaski County) was 35 degrees on the 30th. This was the coldest high of the winter (December through February) up to this point. It was 19 degrees to start the 31st, which was the first winter reading below 20 degrees.

 

Links of Interest
January 2-4, 2019 (heavy rain)
January 11-12, 2019 (rain/some ice)
January 19, 2019 (turning colder/snow)
January 22-23, 2019 (more rain/turning colder)
January 30-31, 2019 (brush with historic cold)

 

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

 

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

 

January, 2019 Precipitation in North Little Rock Overall, precipitation was a bit above average across Arkansas. Amounts at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to left.

 

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

 

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