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June, 2020 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
It was hot to begin June, but for much of the month it did not feel much like summer. That is mainly due to clouds and more than the usual isolated to scattered thunderstorms across the region. The tropics got involved as the remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal arrived from the Gulf Coast. The system bypassed western Arkansas, and left that part of the state very dry.

 

Record Temperatures
 
There was one record high temperatures broken in early June. Check out the record below.

 

Site Record High (Date of Occurrence)
Fayetteville 95 (06/06)

 

A Hot Beginning/Wet Except the West/Cristobal Arrives From the Tropics
 
A ridge of high pressure ("HIGH") in the Plains nudged toward Arkansas on 06/05/2020. Hot summer temperatures were experienced locally. Because the ridge was not directly overhead, this allowed strong to severe thunderstorms to develop. Well to the south, Tropical Storm Cristobal ("LOW") was ready to exit the Yucatan Peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico.
In the picture: A ridge of high pressure ("HIGH") in the Plains nudged toward Arkansas on 06/05/2020. Hot summer temperatures were experienced locally. Because the ridge was not directly overhead, this allowed strong to severe thunderstorms to develop. Well to the south, Tropical Storm Cristobal ("LOW") was ready to exit the Yucatan Peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico.
 

After a cooler than normal (and very wet) May, it started feeling a little more like summer in early June. A ridge of high pressure was just to the west of Arkansas, and this typically brings hot and humid conditions wherever it parks this time of year.

 

In the table: Heat indices from the mid 90s to 105 degrees (and locally higher values) were common across Arkansas during the afternoon of 06/05/2020.
 

On the 5th, high temperatures were in the upper 80s to mid 90s. It was 96 degrees at Fort Smith (Sebastian County), and 95 degrees at El Dorado (Union County), Hot Springs (Garland County), Mena (Polk County), Russellville (Pope County), and Searcy (White County). Humidity levels were elevated, and this made it feel oppressive. In fact, heat index values reached the mid 90s to around 105 degrees at most locations. Wet bulb globe temperatures (WBGT) were generally in the mid 80s to lower 90s, which borders on dangerous conditions for prolonged outside activity.

 

 

Because the ridge to the west was not directly over the state, thunderstorms were able to develop around its eastern periphery. On the 3rd, scattered storms popped up during the heat of the afternoon, with spotty severe weather in the north. There was quarter size hail at Mount Judea, and a tree was toppled onto a home in Parthenon (both in Newton County). Enough rain fell to flood Highway 327 southeast of Jasper (Newton County). There was also a landslide in the same area. 

Early the next morning, strong to severe storms swept from Missouri into northern Arkansas. While the storms generally weakened with time, there was a 60 mph gust measured at the airport just northwest of Harrison (Boone County). Trees were knocked down at Lead Hill (Boone County).

 

Damaging winds downed trees onto a house and a vehicle at Donaldson (Hot Spring County) during the evening of 06/05/2020. The photos are courtesy of John Robinson.
Tree on a House in Donaldson (Hot Spring County)
Tree on a Vehicle at Donaldson (Hot Spring County)
In the pictures: Damaging winds downed trees onto a house and a vehicle at Donaldson (Hot Spring County) during the evening of 06/05/2020. The photos are courtesy of John Robinson.
 

During the afternoon of the 5th, a cluster of thunderstorms tracked through eastern sections of the state from north to south. Along the way, quarter size hail was reported at Aubrey (Lee County) and near Earle (Crittenden County). Trees and power lines were downed at Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). There was a whole lot more wind damage in northern and central Mississippi. Cool outflow from the storms took off to the west, and we were in trouble.

As the outflow oozed westward through central and southern Arkansas, thunderstorms erupted. Some of the storms were huge, and exhibited structure found in springtime tornadic supercells (storms with rotating updrafts). In this case, rotation was found well aloft (10,000 to 15,000 feet), and did not make it to the ground. No Tornado Warnings were issued. Trees were uprooted at Arkadelphia (Clark County), Delight (Pike County), and just north of Star City (Lincoln County). At Donaldson (Hot Spring County), downed trees fell on a house and a vehicle.

 

 

In the pictures: Derechos such as the in one in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming on 06/06/2020 are very rare in the Rockies as noted by the Storm Prediction Center via Twitter.
 

While big storms are ordinary around here, there was something very rare going on in the Rockies on the 6th. A derecho (long-lived straight-line wind event) pummeled eastern Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming with up to 110 mph gusts. A 78 mph gust was measured at the Denver International Airport. This part of the country almost never experiences derechos, and it was the first in Colorado in almost three decades. There were at least 44 reports of gusts of at least 75 mph. This was a record number of significant gusts in one day across the country according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK.

 

The remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal and widespread rain were expected to reach Arkansas by 06/08/2020.
In the picture: The remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal and widespread rain were expected to reach Arkansas by 06/08/2020.
 

To the south, Tropical Storm Cristobal ventured from the Yucatan Peninsula on the 5th to the Louisiana coast on the 7th. The system made landfall between the mouth of the Mississippi River and Grand Isle, LA at 510 pm CDT on the 7th with maximum sustained winds around 50 mph. The remnants of Cristobal continued northward into Arkansas on the 8th, and brought widespread downpours and northeast winds gusting from 30 to 40 mph in places.

The barometric pressure was low enough to set a couple of June records. At North Little Rock (Pulaski County), the pressure bottomed out at 29.48 inches, which was under the previous low mark of 29.60 inches on the 6th of 1996. The barometer reading of 29.36 inches at Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) was 0.15 inch below the old record set on the 14th in 1998.

 

Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 06/09/2020.
In the picture: Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 06/09/2020.
 

Overall, this did not turn into a huge event (impacts were minimal). Twenty hour hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on the 9th was mostly from one to three inches. Some locations received three to four inches including Cane Creek State Park (Lincoln County), DeGray Lake State Park (Clark/Hot Spring Counties), Marche (Pulaski County), Mammoth Spring (Fulton County), just north of Mountain Home (Baxter County), Mountain View (Stone County), and Sheridan (Grant County). In the far west, there was less than a quarter inch of liquid at De Queen (Sevier County), Fayetteville (Washington County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), and Texarkana (Miller County).

Rivers did not get out of hand. However, the same rivers (Black, Cache, Ouachita, and Lower White) that had been elevated much of the year before the event were pushed a little higher.

 

It felt like the tropics on 06/09/2020, with lots of moisture in the air (dewpoints in the 70s). It dried out considerably the next day (dewpoints in the upper 40s to upper 50s) after the passage of a cold front.
Dewpoints at 900 am CDT (06/09)  |  Dewpoints at 900 am CDT (06/10)
In the pictures: It felt like the tropics on 06/09/2020, with lots of moisture in the air (dewpoints in the 70s). It dried out considerably the next day (dewpoints in the upper 40s to upper 50s) after the passage of a cold front.
 

The remnants of Cristobal exited into Missouri early on the 9th, and rain mostly ended. Meanwhile, a new cold front and slightly cooler/much drier air was headed this way. Winds surrounding the front remained gusty, but the direction eventually changed to the west/northwest. This ushered in conditions not felt much in the summer. We went from a very tropical/humid environment on the 9th (high temperatures in the upper 80s to mid 90s/dewpoints in the 70s) to a much more comfortable and tolerable situation on the 10th  (high temperatures in the mid 70s to mid 80s/dewpoints in the upper 40s to upper 50s)..

 

Soil moisture was still above average (percentiles over 70 percent) in Arkansas on 06/21/2020, but it was drying out in a hurry over western sections of the state (down more than 50 millimeters since the end of May).
Soil Moisture Ranking Percentile (06/21)  |  Soil Moisture Anomaly Change (06/21)
In the pictures: Soil moisture was still above average (percentiles over 70 percent) in Arkansas on 06/21/2020, but it was drying out in a hurry over western sections of the state (down more than 50 millimeters since the end of May).
 

In addition to being pleasant outside, the rain stopped coming for awhile. From the 11th through the 20th, Little Rock (Pulaski County) received only 0.02 inch of precipitation. Since no umbrellas were needed, the soil dried out quickly, especially in the west.

It was actually hotter in parts of Maine than it was here at home from the 18th through the 20th. The thermometer peaked in the lower to mid 90s at Caribou, ME. At Little Rock (Pulaski County), the mercury only made it into the upper 80s to around 90 degrees.

By the 20th/21st, thunder was back again as a large storm system wobbled from the western United States into the middle of the country. 

 

In the video: Scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms developed over southern Arkansas from the afternoon of 06/21/2020 through the early the next morning. Meanwhile, a large cluster of storms in Kansas headed through Oklahoma and Texas.
 

The more active of the two days (including some severe weather) was the 21st. The focus was over southern and western sections of the state. Quarter size hail was reported at Green Forest (Carroll County). Trees and/or power lines came down at Crossett (Ashley County) and Hope (Fulton County). Roads were under water at Camden (Ouachita County) and Hope (Hempstead County).

Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on the 22nd included 4.70 inches at Hope (Hempstead County) and 4.00 inches at Sheridan (Grant County). Two to three inch amounts were tallied at Antoine (Pike County), Bogg Springs (Polk County), Crossett (Ashley County), DeGray Lake State Park (Clark/Hot Spring Counties), El Dorado (Union County), Fordyce (Dallas County), and Hot Springs (Garland County).

 

In the pictures: A massive plume of Saharan dust made it all the way to the Caribbean by 06/22/2020. This led to poor air quality and a darkening sky. The information is courtesy of the World Meteorological Organization via Twitter.
 

In the tropics, a large plume of dust from the Sahara Desert was on the move on the 22nd. The dust had made it across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. The air quality was hazardous, with people advised to stay indoors. Nicknamed the "Godzilla dust cloud" by experts, such an event is very rare and had not occurred in at least fifty years. By the time the dust made it to Arkansas by the 27th, it was well aloft. This created a hazy sky and vibrant/colorful sunsets.

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a large cluster of thunderstorms falling apart in Texas, with new storms firing up in Arkansas in the eight hour period ending at 100 pm CDT on 06/23/2020.
Radar at 500 am CDT (06/23)  |  Radar at 700 am CDT (06/23)
Radar at 900 am CDT (06/23)  |  Radar at 1100 am CDT (06/23)
Radar at 100 pm CDT (06/23)  |  Loop
In the pictures: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a large cluster of thunderstorms falling apart in Texas, with new storms firing up in Arkansas in the eight hour period ending at 100 pm CDT on 06/23/2020.
 

On the 23rd, a big cluster of storms fell apart in Texas early in the day. New storms got going in central and southern Arkansas, and they packed a wallop. Trees were toppled at Jacksonville (Pulaski County), Park Hill (Pulaski County), and Sulphur Springs (Jefferson County). Gusts from 50 to 55 mph were recorded at the Saline County Airport near Bryant (Saline County) and at the Stuttgart Municipal Airport in Fairmount (Prairie County). Just under five inches of rain left a lot of standing water at Maumelle (Pulaski County). There was quarter size hail in town as well. Flash flooding in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) stranded at least two cars in high water. Too much rain in Helena-West Helena (Phillips County) stalled vehicles and created a lake that lapped up against homes and businesses. 

 

Heat was building in the central and southern Plains on 06/30/2020, with Heat Advisories and Red Flag Warnings (for fire danger) in effect. Thunderstorm clusters and Flash Flood Watches were noted from the northern Plains to the mid-Mississippi Valley.
In the pictures: Heat was building in the central and southern Plains on 06/30/2020, with Heat Advisories and Red Flag Warnings (for fire danger) in effect. Thunderstorm clusters and Flash Flood Watches were noted from the northern Plains to the mid-Mississippi Valley.
 

As June ended, heat was building in the Plains. On the 29th, temperatures were in the 90s from Texas to the Dakotas. It was over 100 degrees from western Texas to western Kansas. Thunderstorm complexes tended to go around the bubble of heat to the north and east of us.

 

In the video: The satellite showed an area of thunderstorms firing up from west central into central Arkansas on 06/29/2020. The video is courtesy of NOAA Satellites via Twitter.
 

While it appeared the big storms were over, there was one more round from west central into central sections of the state on the 29th. Clouds and downpours yielded a high temperatures of only 77 degrees at Conway (Faulkner County) and North Little Rock (Pulaski County), 78 degrees at Cabot (Lonoke County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County), and 79 degrees at Benton (Saline County) and Malvern (Hot Spring County). Multiple roads were flooded in Hot Springs (Garland County) after three to four inches of rain. There was about as much rain at Malvern (Hot Spring County) and Pine Ridge (Montgomery County), with tree damage at Magnet Cove and Social Hill (both in Hot Spring County). 

For the month, there was more than the usual rain at many locations. Surpluses of rain from one to more than three inches occurred at El Dorado (Union County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Meanwhile, there were precipitation deficits from one to more than three inches in the west. This included Fayetteville (Washington County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), and Texarkana (Miller County

 

Precipitation in June, 2020
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 2.44 4.98 -2.54 49%
Harrison (NC AR) 4.71 4.24 +0.47 111%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 3.12 3.75 -0.63 83%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 0.75 4.28 -3.53 18%
Little Rock (C AR) 6.73 3.65 +3.08 184%
West Memphis (EC AR) 3.86 4.15 -0.29 93%
Texarkana (SW AR) 2.36 4.45 -2.09 53%
El Dorado (SC AR) 6.52 4.90 +1.62 133%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 5.54 3.58 +1.96 155%

 

On the 30th, heat was right on our doorstep to the west. A Heat Advisory was posted for much of Arkansas to begin July, and it was the first such far reaching advisory of the summer.

 

Links of Interest
June 3-6, 2020 (severe storms/spotty flash flooding)
June 8-10, 2020 (heavy rain with Cristobal/becoming more pleasant)
June 20-23, 2020 (heavy rain/severe storms)
June 29, 2020 (heavy rain/isolated severe storms)

 

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

 

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

 

June, 2020 Precipitation in North Little Rock Precipitation was largely at/above average, but was subpar in portions of the west. In fact, it was very dry in the northwest.

 

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

 

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