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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.
 
July, 2018 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
July is known for stifling heat and oppressive conditions. While this happened at times in 2018, there were stormy and mild periods, including an unusual outbreak of severe weather. Given pockets of appreciable rain, an ongoing drought did not get out of control.

 

Record Temperatures
 
There were a few record highs and lows tied or broken in July. Check out the records below.

 

Site Record Low (Date of Occurrence)
North Little Rock 65T (07/31)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Site Record High (Date of Occurrence)
Batesville 100 (07/14)
Fort Smith 108T (07/20)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Very Hot at Times/Periodically Mild and Wet/Plenty of Severe Weather
 
Thunderstorms were isolated on 07/01/2018 as noted from an airplane. The photos are courtesy of Shane Lee.
In the picture: Thunderstorms were isolated on 07/01/2018 as noted from an airplane. The photos are courtesy of Shane Lee.
 

July started hot, with temperatures mostly in the 90s to around 100 degrees on the 1st. It was 101 degrees at El Dorado (Union County), and 98 degrees at Hot Springs (Garland County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Any thunderstorms were isolated.

 

The satellite showed hit and miss thunderstorms developing in western Arkansas on 07/03/2018.
Satellite at 130 pm CDT (07/03)  |  Satellite at 230 pm CDT (07/03)
Satellite at 330 pm CDT (07/03)  |  Loop
In the pictures: The satellite showed hit and miss thunderstorms developing in western Arkansas on 07/03/2018.
 

By the 3rd, storms were a little more numerous in western Arkansas. The strongest storms were in the southwest. Trees and power lines were downed at Arkadelphia (Clark County). Quarter size hail was reported at Gum Springs (Clark County).

 

In the video: Winds swirled over Lake Greeson on 07/03/2018. The video is courtesy of Self Creek Lodge and Marina.
 

Not far from Daisy (Pike County), there was some minor damage to a couple of docks on Lake Greeson. Witnesses reported winds swirling above the water, and there was video confirmation of rotation. It appeared a downburst (winds rushing downward toward the water) from a thunderstorm caused the rotation, and it was classified as a gustnado (a whirlwind at the leading edge of a downdraft).

On the 6th, the big area of high pressure cranking up the heat and keeping rain to a minimum wobbled westward toward the Rockies. This allowed a weak cold front to visit from the north and trigger scattered thunderstorms. Near Conway (Faulkner County), a severe storm unloaded quarter size hail. Trees were also pushed over, with one tree on a house and another blocking Highway 64.

Tragically, a 67-year-old man was struck by lightning in his yard at Russellville (Pope County) around 130 pm CDT. He was transported to a local hospital and eventually passed away. This was the second lightning fatality of 2018 in Arkansas (the first lightning death occurred on June 8th).

 

There was a moderate to severe drought from western into central Arkansas on 07/10/2018.
In the picture: There was a moderate to severe drought from western into central Arkansas on 07/10/2018.
 

It was not a good situation heading into mid-July. As of the 11th, monthly rainfall was already below average by more than an inch in parts of the state, including El Dorado (Union County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Texarkana (Miller County). Drought conditions were noted over the western and central counties.

Thunderstorms remained spotty, and popped up during the heat of the afternoon and early evening. A few storms were severe. On the 11th, several trees were blown down about 10 miles southwest of Glenwood (Pike County). The next day, more trees were toppled by damaging winds at Mena (Polk County). A carport was also destroyed just southeast of Oak Grove (Yell County).

There was more heat. On the 11th, the mercury reached the century mark (100 degrees) at Flippin (Marion County) and Mount Ida (Montgomery County). The same happened at Conway (Faulkner County) on the 12th. The next day, it was Mountain Home (Baxter County), and it was 101 degrees at the Little Rock Air Force Base (Pulaski County).

 

The temperature at Little Rock (Pulaski County) reached 100 degrees for the first time in almost two years on 07/14/2018.
In the picture: The temperature at Little Rock (Pulaski County) reached 100 degrees for the first time in almost two years on 07/14/2018.
 

On the 14th, the temperature at Little Rock (Pulaski County) finally made it to 100 degrees at 216 pm CDT. It was the first time since August 5, 2016 that it got this hot at the site. It was a repeat performance on the 15th when the thermometer showed 101 degrees. The good news is that relief was coming.

 

A cold front slowly pushed into Arkansas from the north on 07/16/2018 and was accompanied by isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms.
Surface Map at 700 pm CDT (07/16)  |  Surface Map at 700 am CDT (07/17)
Surface Map at 700 pm CDT (07/17)  |  Surface Map at 700 am CDT (07/18)
Loop
In the pictures: A cold front slowly pushed into Arkansas from the north on 07/16/2018 and was accompanied by isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms.
 

Another cold front slowly sagged into the area from the north on the 16th/17th. The front brought more thunderstorms/areas of heavy rain, and was followed by slightly cooler air (high temperatures in the 80s to lower 90s). 

Torrential downpours on the 17th caused street flooding at Cabot (Lonoke County), and also around Maumelle, Pleasant Ridge, and Sherwood (all in Pulaski County). More flooding was reported toward the Missouri border on the 18th at Glencoe (Fulton County) and Sidney (Sharp County).

As far as rainfall from the 11th through the 17th, there were widespread totals from a half inch to an inch and a half (and locally more than two inches). Given the hit and miss nature of the precipitation, some places got nary a drop of liquid. In the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on the 17th, Waldron (Scott County) got 3.00 inches of rain. At Holiday Island (Carroll County), 2.82 inches was reported, with 2.00 inches at Cove (Polk County). The next morning, Evening Shade (Sharp County), Greenbrier (Faulkner County), Cabot (Lonoke County), and Marche (Pulaski County) all had two inches or more. Meanwhile, Fort Smith (Sebastian County) had only 0.07 inch in a week, with 0.11 inch at Texarkana (Miller County).

 

A ridge of high pressure ("H") and associated heat built toward Arkansas from the southwest in the thirty six hour period ending at 700 pm CDT on 07/20/2018. Meanwhile, a strong storm system ("L") to the north was set to trigger severe weather around the periphery (north and east) of the high.
500 mb Map at 700 am CDT (07/19)  |  500 mb Map at 700 pm CDT (07/19)
500 mb Map at 700 am CDT (07/20)  |  500 mb Map at 700 pm CDT (07/20)
Loop
In the pictures: A ridge of high pressure ("H") and associated heat built toward Arkansas from the southwest in the thirty six hour period ending at 700 pm CDT on 07/20/2018. Meanwhile, a strong storm system ("L") to the north was set to trigger severe weather around the periphery (north and east) of the high.
 

The pattern was a little unusual by the 19th/20th. High pressure was nearby, and made it feel oppressive outdoors (heat/humidity). A large storm system tracked around the high from the upper Midwest to the Ohio Valley, and sparked an outbreak of severe weather. This is something that is supposed to happen in the spring, but no necessarily in the middle of summer.

 

Dry/hot conditions and few clouds were noted from Arkansas to the southwest during the afternoon of 07/19/2018. This was due to high pressure building over the region. Clusters of thunderstorms were developing around the periphery of the high, with one cluster nearby in southwest Missouri.
In the picture: Dry/hot conditions and few clouds were noted from Arkansas to the southwest during the afternoon of 07/19/2018. This was due to high pressure building over the region. Clusters of thunderstorms were developing around the periphery of the high, with one cluster nearby in southwest Missouri.
 

On the 19th, a line of thunderstorms darted from southwest Missouri into northern Arkansas during the evening. There was tree damage at Everton (Boone County), Norfork (Baxter County), and Melbourne (Izard County). Golf ball size was reported at Mountain Home (Baxter County).

Before the storms got into the region, they caused problems on Table Rock Lake near Branson, MO. The water got choppy, and caused a duck boat to sink. Tragically, seventeen people were killed in the accident.

In Iowa, more than a dozen tornadoes were spawned. Damage was significant in Pella, Bondurant, and Marshalltown, where tornadoes were rated EF2/EF3. 

 

Heat index values ranged from 100 degrees to 120 degrees across Arkansas at 400 pm CDT on 07/20/2018.
In the picture: Heat index values ranged from 100 degrees to 120 degrees across Arkansas at 400 pm CDT on 07/20/2018.
 

It was the hottest day of the year thus far on the 20th. The mercury soared to 108 degrees at Fort Smith (Sebastian County), 107 degrees at De Queen (Sevier County), and 106 degrees at Hot Springs (Garland County) and Mount Ida (Montgomery County). Humidity levels made it feel even worse. Maximum heat index values across the state ranged from 100 degrees to a staggering 120 degrees. Amazingly, much of the afternoon went by without a cloud in the sky! That's because high pressure was close enough and strong enough to cap the atmosphere (to prevent additional storms from materializing).

 

In the picture: A balloon was sent skyward during the afternoon of 07/20/2018 to find out how strongly capped the atmosphere was to prevent thunderstorm development.
 

There was some concern that thunderstorms would struggle to pop up as evening approached. However, data collected from a balloon flight at 400 pm CDT revealed a tremendous amount of energy ready to be released if the cap ever relented. Boy, did it ever!

 

A Very Unstable Atmosphere
Sounding at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) at 700 pm CDT on 07/20/2018

The sounding (temperature and dewpoint profile with height) at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) showed surface CAPE values over 5600 joules/kilogram and an LI of -12 at 700 pm CDT on 07/20/2018! CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy) is an indicator of instability, and is a measure of energy available for thunderstorm development. It is related to the strength of storm updrafts and the potential for severe weather. Like CAPE, the LI (Lifted Index) is used to determine instability. When the index is negative (unstable), air parcels lifted to 500 millibars (mb) are warmer than the surrounding environment and continue ascending to create storms.

 

Up to baseball size hail was reported at Elkins (Washington County) early on 07/21/2018. The photo is courtesy of Joel Rownak.
In the picture: Up to baseball size hail was reported at Elkins (Washington County) early on 07/21/2018. The photo is courtesy of Joel Rownak.
 

Scattered to numerous thunderstorms erupted during the overnight hours of the 20th into the wee hours of the 21st. Storms were prevalent from central into southeast Arkansas early in the event. Between 900 and 1100 pm CDT, tree and power line damage in Clarendon (Monroe County) resulted in a loss of power to the whole town. A tree fell on a vehicle at Ulm (Prairie County). South of Casscoe (Arkansas County), a metal outbuilding was destroyed. Numerous trees piled up along Highway 17 near Ethel (Arkansas County). There was quarter to half dollar size hail at Gibson and Jacksonville (both in Pulaski County). Quarters also pelted the National Weather Service in North Little Rock (Pulaski County).

After midnight CDT (early on the 21st), the focus shifted to the Ozark Mountains of the northwest. A massive hailstorm dumped up to baseball size stones on Elkins (Washington County) and Crosses (Madison County). This was a very rare occurrence in the state, with hail this size happening only a handful of times in July since 1950. East of the storm, there was a lot of wind with storms at the Buffalo Point Campground near Mull (Marion County). Four people were injured as fallen trees hit recreational vehicles.

 

How Rare is Huge Hail?

With the exception of 2005 and 2013, baseball size or larger hail was observed in Arkansas at least once a year since 1980 (through 2017). Hail at least softball size occurred once every other year (19 of 38 years). As far as numbers of reports, of the roughly 5,400 instances of quarter size or larger hail, 233 were at least baseballs (4.3% of reports) and 73 were at least softballs (1.4% of reports). The largest hailstones were five inches in diameter (slightly larger than a DVD) on January 21, 1999 and April 2, 2006.

 

In the video: From midnight to 330 am CDT on 07/21/2018, severe weather was extreme from northwest into central Arkansas. A hailstorm (producing up to baseball size hail) tracked from Fayetteville (Washington County) to Clarksville (Johnson County), and eventually weakened. From there, wind producing (bowing) storms took over, and moved along the Arkansas River from Russellville (Pope County) to Little Rock (Pulaski County).
 

The big hailstorm headed to the southeast, and weakened somewhat as it neared Clarksville (Johnson County). From there, a new round of storms headed quickly (40 to 50 mph) southeast along the Arkansas River and bowed out. This bowing line of storms unleashed 70 to 90 mph wind gusts at times. 

 

 

At Russellville (Pope County), signs were tossed around and windows were blown out around 220 am CST. The doors of a department store were pushed in, and roofs had shingle damage. Ten minutes later, power poles were snapped in half at Atkins (Pope County). A tractor shed in Houston (Perry County) was demolished, and the top of a garage was removed shortly before 300 am CDT. A horse was also killed by lightning. Trees were all over the place in west Little Rock (Pulaski County) by 330 am CDT, with trees blocking roads and on homes. The trees caused damage to roofs and chimneys. By the time it was all over, there were more than 60,000 power outages.

As winds were whipping up along the Arkansas River, there was one other huge storm to note near Hickory Plains (Prairie County). The storm roughed up grain bins and dropped at least golf ball size hail.

Outside the state, there was widespread wind damage and isolated tornadoes from Indiana southward through Kentucky, Tennessee, and northern Georgia (on the 20th through sunrise on the 21st). Up to softball size hail was reported at Tompkinsville, KY.

 

Link of Interest
Damage Survey Information

 

Below average temperatures were noted on 07/28/2018, with highs in the upper 70s to upper 80s.
In the picture: Below average temperatures were noted on 07/28/2018, with highs in the upper 70s to upper 80s.
 

In the final days of the month, one more cold front arrived the north on the 26th. The front eventually stalled and wobbled around near the Arkansas and Louisiana border. Several clusters of thunderstorms formed in the central Rockies and central Plains, and followed the front into the region. Given clouds and areas of rain, afternoon temperatures were held down. From the 28th through the 31st, highs were mostly in the 70s and 80s.

 

Five day rainfall through 700 am CDT on 07/31/2018. Several inches of rain occurred in southwest Arkansas, with less than a quarter inch in central and northeast sections of the state.
In the picture: Five day rainfall through 700 am CDT on 07/31/2018. Several inches of rain occurred in southwest Arkansas, with less than a quarter inch in central and northeast sections of the state.
 

Going into this event, there were severe drought (D2) conditions from souhwest into central sections of the state. Fortunately, much of this area received two to more than five inches of rain in a five day period ending early on the 31st. Some of the larger twenty four hour totals included 2.58 inches close to Murfreesboro (Pike County), 2.57 inches at DeGray Lake State Park (Hot Spring County), and 2.23 inches at Mount Ida (Montgomery County) through 700 am CDT on the 29th. By the next morning (the 30th), West Memphis (Crittenden County) had 1.54 inches and Newport (Jackson County) got 1.51 inches. On the 31st, 3.00 inches was tallied around Mountain View (Stone County), with 2.36 inches at Harrison (Boone County).

As far as monthly rainfall, it was thumbs up in the northwest. Amounts finished above average at Fayetteville (Washington County) and Harrison (Boone County). Rainfall was close to normal at Little Rock (Pulaski County). Unfortunately, precipitation was subpar by an inch to more than two inches at El Dorado (Union County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), and Texarkana (Miller County). The same was true in much of the northeast.

 

Precipitation in July, 2018
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 4.31 3.46 +0.85 125%
Harrison (NC AR) 4.64 3.14 +1.50 148%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 3.21 3.54 -0.33 91%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 2.31 3.30 -0.99 70%
Little Rock (C AR) 3.29 3.27 +0.02 101%
West Memphis (EC AR) 3.12 3.41 -0.29 91%
Texarkana (SW AR) 2.47 3.44 -0.97 72%
El Dorado (SC AR) 1.06 3.56 -2.50 30%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 3.48 3.93 -0.45 89%

 

In the video: The Carr fire near Redding, CA raged out of control on 07/30/2018. The video is courtesy of CAL FIRE Shasta Trinity Unit & the Shasta County Fire Department.
 

While July finished mild and wet locally, hot and dry conditions in the western United States led to numerous wildfires. By the end of the month, two fires (Carr and Ferguson) in California had torched more than 150,000 acres, destroyed at least 1,000 structures, and killed eight people. These fires were outside of Redding, CA and near Yosemite National Park (300 miles apart).

 

Links of Interest
July 1-6, 2018 (isolated severe storms)
July 11-18, 2018 (very hot/beneficial rain)
July 19-21, 2018 (oppressive/severe weather outbreak)
July 27-31, 2018 (areas of heavy rain/cooling off)

 

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

 

Temperatures and Precipitation
Temperatures were at or a little above average in July. Readings at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to right. July, 2018 Temperatures in North Little Rock

 

July, 2018 Precipitation in North Little Rock Overall, precipitation was at or below average, with some above normal totals in parts of the west. Amounts at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to left.

 

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

 

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