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.
 
July, 2020 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
There was not much to remember about July. While there was summer heat, it was fleeting. Heavy rain was here and there, but it was more dry than not. There was not much severe weather. Outside of Arkansas, tropical systems in the Atlantic basin came together at a record pace (nine named systems so far in 2020).

 

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

 

Periodic Summer Heat/More Dry Than Wet/Active in the Tropics
 
The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a large cluster of thunderstorms heading from Missouri into eastern Arkansas in the eight hour period ending at 500 pm CDT on 07/01/2020.
Radar at 900 am CDT (07/01)  |  Radar at 1100 am CDT (07/01)
Radar at 100 pm CDT (07/01)  |  Radar at 300 pm CDT (07/01)
Radar at 500 pm CDT (07/01)  |  Loop
In the pictures: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a large cluster of thunderstorms heading from Missouri into eastern Arkansas in the eight hour period ending at 500 pm CDT on 07/01/2020.
 

July began with a bang as strong to severe thunderstorms swept from Missouri into eastern Arkansas on the 1st. Trees were blown down at Cave City (Sharp County), on the south side of Jonesboro (Craighead County), and at Salem (Fulton County). Chicken house roofs were damaged about five miles north of Pfeiffer (Independence County). A 72 mph wind gust was measured at an aviation company in Cash (Craighead County), with a gust to 52 mph at the airport just east of Newport (Jackson County). There was also a brief landspout in an open field a few miles northeast of Marmaduke (Greene County).

 

Heat index values were between 100 and 110 degrees across Arkansas at 300 pm CDT on 07/02/2020.
In the picture: Heat index values were between 100 and 110 degrees across Arkansas at 300 pm CDT on 07/02/2020.
 

While it was hot on the 1st, with heat index values from 100 to 105 degrees in central and southern sections of the state, it was more oppressive on the 2nd and it affected much of the region. By 300 pm CDT on the 2nd, heat indices ranged from 100 to 110 degrees.

 

Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 07/03/2020.
In the picture: Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 07/03/2020.
 

As it became oppressive outside, the atmosphere gradually destabilized. A weak cold front that sagged into the region from the northeast and stalled the day before became a focus for thunderstorm development during the late afternoon and evening hours. Parts of southern and western Arkansas picked up more than two inches of rain, and spotty flash flooding resulted.

Sheridan got 2.85 inches of rain in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on the 3rd. Just northeast of Sheridan (Grant County), Highway 46 was closed due to high water. Just east of town, there was a report of over three inches of liquid and a county road under water.

The front drifted toward the Louisiana border the next several days, and it was not so hot. Areas of heavy rain gradually shifted toward Texas and Louisiana. Even so, scattered cloudbursts here at home resulted in three to four inches of precipitation just southwest of Arkadelphia (Clark County) on the 3rd, and at Monticello (Drew County) on the 4th. Roads were flooded at Magnolia (Columbia County) and Texarkana (Miller County) on the 6th.

Due to the hit and miss nature of downpours early in the month, water levels dropped on rivers that were high for months. This included the Black, Cache, Ouachita, and lower White Rivers. By the 6th, the only site with minor flood issues was Augusta (Woodruff County) along the lower White River.

 

A ridge of high pressure ("H") was just to the west of Arkansas at 700 am CDT on 07/10/2020. The flow aloft went around the northern/eastern periphery of the high, bringing chances of thunderstorms to the state.
In the picture: A ridge of high pressure ("H") was just to the west of Arkansas at 700 am CDT on 07/10/2020. The flow aloft went around the northern/eastern periphery of the high, bringing chances of thunderstorms to the state.
 

As the second week of the month began, a ridge of high pressure was anchored over the southern Rockies and southern Plains. It was active around the northern periphery of the ridge. A monster tornado (rated EF4) was spawned near Dalton, MN on the 8th. The tornado was one of the strongest of the year across the country, and killed one person and injured three others.

Under the ridge, it was 105 degrees in Lubbock, TX and Midland, TX on the 9th. In Arkansas, thermometers showed mid 80s to lower 90s (at/slightly below average temperatures) at most locations in the afternoon.

 

In the video: A large cluster of thunderstorms over the central Plains during the predawn hours of 07/09/2020 moved into Arkansas by the late morning. At the same time, Tropical Storm Fay was organizing off the North Carolina coast.
 

On the 9th, storms were in the forecast locally. The event got kickstarted during the wee hours from Nebraska into Kansas, and a lot of wind damage was reported. However, there was a loss of intensity by the time the fireworks reached northwest Arkansas before lunchtime. Instances of severe weather were few from western into central sections of the state.

Trees were downed at Fayetteville and Springdale (both in Washington County), Alma (Crawford County), just southeast of Havana (Yell County), and at Furlow (Lonoke County). A 59 mph gust was measured at Highfill (Benton County), with a 56 mph gust at the Little Rock Air Force Base (Pulaski County).

One to two inches of rain fell in spots, and it came down quickly. Fort Smith (Sebastian County) received 2.00 inches of precipitation, with 1.64 inches at North Little Rock (Pulaski County). There were spotty high water issues in the Little Rock (Pulaski County) area. For example, vehicles exiting Highway 67/167 at McCain Boulevard were met with flooding along Warden Road. This caused a slowdown, and cars backed up onto the freeway.

Along the Atlantic Coast, Tropical Storm Fay formed on the 9th. Two to more than five inches of rain dumped from Ocean City, MD to New York City, NY through the 10th. The rain combined with high tide turned streets into lakes at Bethany Beach, DE.

 

Heat headlines were in place across most of Arkansas as of 124 pm CDT on 07/11/2020.
In the picture: Heat headlines were in place across most of Arkansas as of 124 pm CDT on 07/11/2020.
 

By the 11th, oppressive conditions made a return. High temperatures were in the 90s, with heat index values from 100 to around 115 degrees. At 400 pm CDT, heat indices reached 113 degrees at Arkadelphia (Clark County), 111 degrees at De Queen (Sevier County) and El Dorado (Union County), and 110 degrees at Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and Mena (Polk County).

Meanwhile, a new cold front was headed this way from the central Plains. The front promised to bring another round of strong to severe thunderstorms during the nighttime hours of the 11th/early on the 12th.

 

Severe weather reports in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 07/12/2020. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
In the picture: Severe weather reports in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 07/12/2020. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
 

As it turned out, precipitation generally stayed to the west of us in Oklahoma. There was little to no rain across most of the state. In the far west, there was up to a half inch of rain, and some trees uprooted at Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and Lincoln (Washington County).

 

Temperatures warmed up, and dewpoints (moisture levels) dropped quickly at Hot Springs (Garland County) during the predawn hours of 07/12/2020. The pressure also fell rapidly indicating the presence of a possible wake low.
In the picture: Temperatures warmed up, and dewpoints (moisture levels) dropped quickly at Hot Springs (Garland County) during the predawn hours of 07/12/2020. The pressure also fell rapidly indicating the presence of a possible wake low.
 

As storms bypassed us, there was a noticeable increase in winds overnight (gusts from 30 to 40 mph). There were short-lived but dramatic drops in pressure, especially west of Little Rock (Pulaski County). This appeared to be an area of low pressure forming in the wake of the storms to the west (a wake low). As this happened, it warmed up and dried out at quite a few locations. At Fort Smith (Sebastian County), the temperature went from 77 degrees to 89 degrees in an hour, with an eleven degree jump at De Queen (Sevier County). At Hot Springs (Garland County), there was a five degree increase (to 91 degrees) between 253 am and 318 am CDT on the 12th.

 

It was not exactly scorching hot through the first forty eight days of meteorological summer (June 1 to July 18, 2020) in Little Rock (Pulaski County). There were only three days with temperatures at least 95 degrees. Since 1950, readings were this warm at least twenty days in thirteen years, and at least thirty days in three years (1952, 1954, and 2011).
In the picture: It was not exactly scorching hot through the first forty eight days of meteorological summer (June 1 to July 18, 2020) in Little Rock (Pulaski County). There were only three days with temperatures at least 95 degrees. Since 1950, readings were this warm at least twenty days in thirteen years, and at least thirty days in three years (1952, 1954, and 2011).
 

In the next week, umbrellas were not needed much as downpours became isolated. While it certainly felt like summer, it was nothing memorable. In fact, meteorological summer (which began on June 1st) featured only three days with temperatures of at least 95 degrees at Little Rock (Pulaski County) through July 18th. At Russellville (Pope County), readings were this warm only eight days, and it was fourteen days at Fort Smith (Sebastian County). At the latter site, it was not even close to the forty one days experienced in 2011.

 

In the picture: There was a moderate risk of severe weather in the northern Plains and upper Midwest in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 07/18/2020. The forecast is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center via Twitter.
 

Significant rain was well to the north. There was even a derecho (long lived damaging wind event covering at least 250 miles) on the 17th/18th from the Dakotas and Minnesota into northern Michigan. A 101 mph wind gust was recorded at Churchs Ferry, ND.

 

Tropical Storm Hanna was headed toward the Texas Gulf Coast on 07/24/2020. The system was expected to become at least a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall.
In the picture: Tropical Storm Hanna was headed toward the Texas Gulf Coast on 07/24/2020. The system was expected to become at least a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall.
 

Thunderstorms picked up again on the 22nd/23rd. West central and southwest Arkansas were hit the hardest. In the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on the 23rd, Mount Ida (Montgomery County) got a whopping 4.50 inches of rain. Much of this (4.10 inches) was unloaded between 400 am and 700 am CDT on the 23rd. Dardanelle (Yell County) got 3.15 inches, with two to three inches at Hot Springs (Garland County), Lewisville (Lafayette County), Paragould (Greene County), and Texarkana (Miller County). 

In the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm Hanna formed on the 23rd, and made a beeline for the Texas Gulf Coast. The next day, the system strengthened into the first hurricane (Category 1/90 mph sustained winds) of the season in the Atlantic basin before making landfall in the late afternoon just north of Port Mansfield, TX. There was plenty of precipitation, with 8.30 inches reported at McAllen, TX. Up until the deluge, there was only 0.01 inch for the month, and a dozen days with triple digit heat (100 degrees or more).

 

Precipitable water (PWAT), or the amount of water contained in a vertical column of the atmosphere, was elevated by 07/29/2020. This made showers and thunderstorms more efficient rainmakers, and led to a very wet forecast.
In the picture: Precipitable water (PWAT), or the amount of water contained in a vertical column of the atmosphere, was elevated by 07/29/2020. This made showers and thunderstorms more efficient rainmakers, and led to a very wet forecast.
 

Moisture levels were sky high to end the month. Precipitable water (PWAT) values over two inches were depicted by some forecast models. At 700 pm CDT on the 29th, the PWAT was 2.20 inches at the North Little Rock Airport (Pulaski County). This was more than than usual 1.5 to 1.7 inches in late July. When PWAT is inflated, showers and thunderstorms become more efficient rainmakers.

The moisture pooled around a stalled front in southern Missouri from the 28th through the 30th. Several inches of rain were in the forecast north of Little Rock (Pulaski County). In the end, this event fell short of expectations, with one to more than two inches across the south and west, and less than a half inch in a large portion of the east.

For the month, the driest part of the state was the northeast. There was less than the usual rain at Jonesboro (Craighead County) by one to two inches. In the west, there was above average precipitation at Fayetteville (Washington County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), and Texarkana (Miller County).

 

Precipitation in July, 2020
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 4.24 3.46 +0.78 123%
Harrison (NC AR) 2.32 3.14 -0.82 74%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 1.94 3.54 -1.60 55%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 3.55 3.30 +0.25 108%
Little Rock (C AR) 2.43 3.27 -0.84 74%
West Memphis (EC AR) 3.88 3.41 +0.47 114%
Texarkana (SW AR) 7.00 3.44 +3.56 203%
El Dorado (SC AR) 3.14 3.56 -0.42 88%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 3.30 3.93 -0.63 84%

 

Any severe weather ahead of the front was minimal. Late on the 30th/early on the 31st, power lines came down at De Queen (Sevier County), and a tree was blown onto some power lines near Martindale (Pulaski County). Eventually, the front made progress to the south. Very muggy and uncomfortable air was replaced by much more tolerable conditions as August began.

In the tropics, Hurricane Isaias (Category 1 storm/80 mph sustained winds) was nearing the Florida Atlantic Coast from the southeast on the 31st. This was the first time on record that nine named storms were counted by August 1st.

 

Links of Interest
July 1-2, 2020 (very hot/severe storms/heavy rain)
July 9-12, 2020 (heating up/severe storms/heavy rain)
July 22-24, 2020 (heavy rain/active in the tropics)
July 28-31, 2020 (pockets of heavy rain/becoming less humid)

 

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

 

Temperatures and Precipitation
Temperatures were pretty close to average in July. Readings at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to right. July, 2020 Temperatures in North Little Rock

 

July, 2020 Precipitation in North Little Rock Overall, precipitation was at or above average in parts of southern and western Arkansas, and below average elsewhere. Amounts at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to left.

 

To right, a look at precipitation across the state. July, 2020 Precipitation in Arkansas

 

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