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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.
 
October, 2018 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
Following drought in the summer, rain hit in August and September and continued in October. We went from dry to muddy, and it was creating an agricultural nightmare. While it felt like summer as the month began, it turned much cooler toward the middle of October. As the air masses clashed, two weak tornadoes were produced.

 

Record Temperatures
 
There were several record high and low temperatures tied or broken during October. Check out the records below.

 

Site Record Low (Date of Occurrence)
Batesville 32 (10/22)
Jacksonville 34 (10/22)
Stuttgart 39 (10/22)

 

Site Record High (Date of Occurrence)
Hot Springs 86 (10/28)
Jacksonville 91 (10/04)
Jonesboro 91T (10/08)
Stuttgart 92 (10/02), 91 (10/06), 92 (10/07), 91 (10/08), 82 (10/28)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Way Too Wet/Warm Early and Late/Very Cool in the Middle
 
Precipitation and departure from average precipitation in October, 2018.
Precipitation (Oct, 2018)  |  Departure From Average Precipitation (Oct, 2018)
In the picture: Precipitation and departure from average precipitation in October, 2018.
 

For the third month in a row, rain was above to well above average in October. There was a surplus of liquid by more than an inch and a half at Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Texarkana (Miller County), and West Memphis (Crittenden County). It was a little dry in the northwest, with precipitation totals around an inch subpar at Fayetteville (Washington County).

 

Precipitation in October, 2018
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 3.25 4.33 -1.08 75%
Harrison (NC AR) 4.95 3.55 +1.40 139%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 3.84 4.26 -0.42 90%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 6.70 4.32 +2.38 155%
Little Rock (C AR) 8.21 4.91 +3.30 167%
West Memphis (EC AR) 5.75 4.21 +1.54 137%
Texarkana (SW AR) 6.66 4.93 +1.73 135%
El Dorado (SC AR) 5.72 5.19 +0.53 110%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 5.45 5.00 +0.45 109%

 

Maps at 500 millibars (18,000 feet) showed a ridge of high pressure ("H") near the mid-Atlantic Coast, and a storm system ("L") heading from the southern Rockies to the northern Plains in the thirty six hour period ending at 700 pm CDT on 10/10/2018. In the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael ("L") tracked into the Florida panhandle.
500 mb Map at 700 am CDT (10/09)  |  500 mb Map at 700 pm CDT (10/09)
500 mb Map at 700 am CDT (10/10)  |  500 mb Map at 700 pm CDT (10/10)
Loop
In the pictures: Maps at 500 millibars (18,000 feet) showed a ridge of high pressure ("H") near the mid-Atlantic Coast, and a storm system ("L") heading from the southern Rockies to the northern Plains in the thirty six hour period ending at 700 pm CDT on 10/10/2018. In the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael ("L") tracked into the Florida panhandle.
 

The month started off warm and mostly dry in Arkansas. A ridge of high pressure over the southeast United States kept the rain away, and made it feel more like summer than fall.

 

High temperatures on 10/08/2018. Readings were in the 80s to lower 90s.
In the picture: High temperatures on 10/08/2018. Readings were in the 80s to lower 90s.
 

On the 8th, high temperatures were in the 80s to lower 90s, with the warmest readings over the southeast half of the state. It was 93 degrees at West Memphis (Crittenden County), 92 degrees at Monticello (Drew County), and 91 degrees at Jonesboro (Craighead County) and Stuttgart (Arkansas County).

By the 9th, the pattern started to change. A large storm system surged from the Rockies into the middle of the country. Ahead of the system, widespread rain and scattered thunderstorms developed. Precipitation moved into the region from the west during the afternoon.

As it was raining here, light snow was flying from eastern Colorado and northwest Kansas into parts of Nebraska and South Dakota. Meanwhile, thunderstorms were producing tornadoes in central Oklahoma and northwest Missouri. At least ten tornadoes were counted in Iowa.

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a storm with classic supercell structure along the Franklin/Johnson County line at 340 pm CDT on 10/09/2018.  A hook was noted in reflectivity images, with velocity images indicating strong rotation.
Reflectivity at 340 pm CDT (10/09)  |  Storm Relative Velocity at 340 pm CDT (10/09)
In the pictures: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a storm with classic supercell structure along the Franklin/Johnson County line at 340 pm CDT on 10/09/2018.  A hook was noted in reflectivity images, with velocity images indicating strong rotation.
 

Here at home, there were two weak tornadoes (rated EF0/EF1) spawned about three miles southwest of Hunt (Johnson County). These were the 29th and 30th tornadoes of 2018 in Arkansas. The tornadoes caused very little damage. Part of a roof was removed from a storage building. Also, trees were either downed or snapped.

As far as rainfall, half inch to inch and a half totals were reported, with locally over two inches. Twenty four hour amounts through 700 am CDT on the 10th included 2.84 inches at Danville (Yell County), 2.70 inches at Cane Creek State Park (Lincoln County), 2.56 inches at Monticello (Drew County), 2.40 inches at Stuttgart (Arkansas County), 2.34 inches at Alum Fork (Saline County), 2.27 inches at Dumas (Desha County), and 2.25 inches at Witts Spring (Searcy County).

To the north, it was very wet in Kansas City, MO through the 10th. The city got 10.05 inches of rain, with much of this occurring on the 6th through the 9th (9.79 inches). Only 0.71 inch fell the remainder of the month, making it the second wettest October (and not far from the record of 11.94 inches in 1941).

 

Link of Interest
Damage Survey Information

 

In the video: A satellite loop shows Hurricane Michael winding up in the Gulf of Mexico early on 10/10/2018.
 

In the tropics, Hurricane Michael strengthened as it approached the Florida panhandle. By the time Michael arrived near Mexico Beach, FL on the 10th, it was a strong Category 4 storm (sustained winds at 155 mph). In fact, it was the strongest hurricane to ever hit this part of the country, and the third most intense system to hit the United States (central pressure of 919 millibars). Michael was still a Category 3 storm by the time it reached Georgia, making it the most powerful hurricane in the state since 1898.

Michael thrashed areas from Florida to Virginia with high winds, flooding (due to storm surge and heavy/excessive rain), and tornadoes. At least 30 people were killed and power was cut off to more than a million households. The system did not weaken below Tropical Storm status along the way.

 

Springlike air was in the process of being replaced by more seasonal (fall) conditions during the afternoon of 10/13/2018. From Oklahoma to the Ohio Valley (including northern Arkansas), temperatures were in the 40s/50s at 400 pm CDT. Along the Gulf Coast, readings were in the 70s/80s, with some 90s in south Texas.
In the picture: Springlike air was in the process of being replaced by more seasonal (fall) conditions during the afternoon of 10/13/2018. From Oklahoma to the Ohio Valley (including northern Arkansas), temperatures were in the 40s/50s at 400 pm CDT. Along the Gulf Coast, readings were in the 70s/80s, with some 90s in south Texas.
 

The weather pattern remained unsettled in mid-October. A split flow developed aloft, with warm and moist air along the Gulf Coast overrunning much cooler conditions arriving from the north.

 

A cold front arrived in Arkansas from the Plains on 10/14/2018. Moisture pooling around the front resulted in areas of rain and isolated thunderstorms locally, with chances of wintry precipitation from Colorado and New Mexico to Iowa and Wisconsin.
In the picture: A cold front arrived in Arkansas from the Plains on 10/14/2018. Moisture pooling around the front resulted in areas of rain and isolated thunderstorms locally, with chances of wintry precipitation from Colorado and New Mexico to Iowa and Wisconsin.
 

Rain overspread Arkansas from the 14th through the 16th. Precipitation was most concentrated over the central and southern counties. Most areas got one to three inches of liquid, with locally over four inches. Amounts were much heavier from northern into central Texas where four to eight inch totals were common (and more than ten inches in places). Over time, the cooler air took over as a cold front worked southward through the state.

 

High temperatures on 10/16/2018. Readings were only in the 40s and 50s.
In the picture: High temperatures on 10/16/2018. Readings were only in the 40s and 50s.
 

On the 16th, temperatures were well below average. Highs were in the upper 40s to mid 50s. Normal readings are in the upper 60s to mid 70s. Record cool highs were established for the day at a dozen locations. A couple of these records were impressive. It was 49 degrees at Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), which shattered the previous mark of 60 degrees set in 1906. At Mount Ida (Montgomery County), the thermometer showed 50 degrees. This was well under the standing record of 58 degrees in 1880. 

 

Across Arkansas, drought conditions were worsening in July, 2018. Three months later, excessive rain made fields muddy and harvesting was difficult to impossible.
In the picture: Across Arkansas, drought conditions were worsening in July, 2018. Three months later, excessive rain made fields muddy and harvesting was difficult to impossible.
 

There was one more round of downpours as the month came to a close. On the 30th, a warm front lifted to the north from the Gulf Coast. This not only provided mild air (high temperatures in the 70s to lower 80s), moisture levels came up. The next day, a cold front plowed into the region from the Plains. Since the atmosphere was loaded with water, numerous showers popped up.

Prior to the event, numerous phone calls were received by the National Weather Service from farmers in eastern Arkansas. They asked how much rain was coming, and expressed frustration about the recent wet pattern and how it made harvesting difficult to impossible (due to muddy fields).

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed rain and isolated thunderstorms confined to northern and western Arkansas during the morning of afternoon of 10/31/2018. Precipitation finally spread across the remainder of the state during the nighttime hours.
Radar at 700 am CDT (10/31)  |  Radar at 1000 am CDT (10/31)
Radar at 100 pm CDT (10/31)  |  Radar at 400 pm CDT (10/31)
Radar at 700 pm CDT (10/31)  |  Radar at 1000 pm CDT (10/31)
Loop
In the pictures: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed rain and isolated thunderstorms confined to northern and western Arkansas during the morning of afternoon of 10/31/2018. Precipitation finally spread across the remainder of the state during the nighttime hours.
 

During the morning and much of the afternoon of the 31st, several inches of precipitation fell in areas mainly north and west of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Rain finally progressed through the rest of the state after dark.

On the 31st, Mount Ida (Montgomery County) got 5.78 inches of rain. This was the most precipitation ever at the site in October. In the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on November 1st, Batesville (Independence County) got 5.15 inches, with 4.62 inches at Conway (Faulkner County), 4.50 inches at Alicia (Lawrence County), 4.31 inches at Alum Fork (Saline County), and 4.24 inches at Greers Ferry Dam (Cleburne County). Three to four inches of rain dumped at Murfreesboro (Pike County), Newport (Jackson County), Big Fork (Polk County), Corning (Clay County), Damascus (Van Buren County), Pocahontas (Randolph County), Paragould (Greene County), Mountain View (Stone County), Malvern (Hot Springs County), and North Little Rock (Pulaski County).

Minor flooding was noted along portions of the Cache, Fourche LaFave, Ouachita, Petit Jean, and lower White Rivers. At Caddo Gap (Montgomery County), roads were under water, and some roads were washed out.

 

Storm reports in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 11/01/2018. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).
In the picture: Storm reports in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 11/01/2018. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).
 

Severe weather became a problem for our neighbors to the south in eastern Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. At least two dozen tornadoes were spawned. Most of these were weak (rated EF0/EF1). In Mississippi, the tornadoes happened during the wee hours of November 1st while people were asleep. One person was killed when a car ran into a fallen tree (downed by a tornado) along Highway 61 a few miles north of Port Gibson, MS.

 

Links of Interest
October 9-10, 2018 (heavy rain/isolated severe storms)
October 13-16, 2018 (areas of rain/turning colder)
October 31-November 1, 2018 (more heavy rain)

 

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

 

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

 

October, 2018 Precipitation in North Little Rock Precipitation was above to well above average at most locations. Amounts at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to left.

 

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

 

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