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October, 2019 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
After a hot and dry September, the weather was much more changeable in October. There were roller coaster temperatures, including record heat to begin the month and a couple of freezes later on. There was plenty of rain, and some severe weather including tornadoes. There was even some light snow to end the month.

 

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

 

Site Record Low (Date of Occurrence)
Batesville 33 (10/12)
Fayetteville 30T (10/12)
Hot Springs 36 (10/12)
Little Rock 37T (10/12)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Site Record High (Date of Occurrence)
Batesville 92 (10/01), 94 (10/02), 92 (10/03)
El Dorado 99 (10/02), 98 (10/03)
Fort Smith 93T (10/02)
Hot Springs 95 (10/01), 96 (10/02), 36 (10/12)
Jacksonville 97 (10/01), 95 (10/02), 93T (10/03)
Jonesboro 96 (10/01), 98 (10/02), 95 (10/03)
Little Rock 95 (10/02)
North Little Rock 92T (10/01), 94 (10/02), 92 (10/03)
Stuttgart 95 (10/01), 96 (10/02), 96 (10/03)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Areas of Heavy Rain/Some Severe Storms/Early Freezes
 
Temperatures at 300 pm CDT on 10/04/2019. Readings in Arkansas were mostly in the 70s and 80s, with some 60s in the west. Readings in the 90s were shoved away from the region toward the Gulf Coast.
In the picture: Temperatures at 300 pm CDT on 10/04/2019. Readings in Arkansas were mostly in the 70s and 80s, with some 60s in the west. Readings in the 90s were shoved away from the region toward the Gulf Coast.
 

October began with record heat through the 3rd. On the 2nd, Jonesboro (Craighead County) had an all-time record high for the month of 98 degrees. There were three straight days of record highs in the 90s at Batesville (Independence County), Jacksonville (Pulaski County), Jonesboro (Craighead County), North Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Stuttgart (Arkansas County). The heat took a break by the 4th after a cold front passed through Arkansas from the north. Highs were only in the 70s and 80s. It was even cooler in parts of the south and west due to clouds and downpours. As of 300 pm CDT, thermometers showed 60s at Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Hot Springs (Garland County), and Mount Ida (Montgomery County).

 

In the video: The satellite loop showed showers and thunderstorms developing in portions of southern and western Arkansas on 10/04/2019.
 

The heaviest cloudbursts on the 4th were in Clark and Hot Spring Counties close to Interstate 30. Some flash flooding occurred, with high water near the Amtrak depot in Gurdon, and roads under water in Arkadelphia (both in Clark County). Radar estimated over a half foot of rain between Gurdon and Okolona (both in Clark County). A rain gauge at the latter location showed roughly five inches (via social media). Four to five inches of rain dumped in Arkadelphia (Clark County), with about an inch at Hot Springs (Garland County). It was the first time since mid-August that both sites received at least a half inch of precipitation in a day. 

 

A ridge of high pressure ("H") flattened enough during the first week of October, 2019 to allow the flow aloft to bring storm systems ("L") and cold fronts into Arkansas.
In the picture: A ridge of high pressure ("H") flattened enough during the first week of October, 2019 to allow the flow aloft to bring storm systems ("L") and cold fronts into Arkansas.
 

The floodgates opened even more in the following days. A ridge of high pressure that persisted over Arkansas in September with dry/hot conditions finally broke down. That led to more cold fronts, chances of rain, and shots of cooler air.

 

Forecast maps showed a cold front pushing into Arkansas from the Plains on 10/06/2019. Scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms accompanied the front, followed by cooler air.
Forecast Map at 700 pm CDT (10/05)  |  Forecast Map at 700 am CDT (10/06)
Forecast Map at 700 pm CDT (10/06)  |  Forecast Map at 700 am CDT (10/07)
Loop
In the pictures: Forecast maps showed a cold front pushing into Arkansas from the Plains on 10/06/2019. Scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms accompanied the front, followed by cooler air.
 

One such front was on the doorstep to the northwest to begin the 6th. Ahead of the front, showers and thunderstorms were ongoing in northwest sections of the state. By daybreak, some locations in the far northwest (Benton County) had three to four inches of precipitation.

 

There was a nearly thirty degree temperature difference across Arkansas on 10/06/2019. Readings ranged from the upper 60s in the north to the mid 90s in the south.
In the picture: There was a nearly thirty degree temperature difference across Arkansas on 10/06/2019. Readings ranged from the upper 60s in the north to the mid 90s in the south.
 

Heavy to excessive rain continued through much of the morning in areas toward the Missouri border. This kept temperatures in the 60s at Fayetteville (Washington County), Harrison (Boone County), and Mountain Home (Baxter County). Meanwhile, well ahead of the front where it was not raining, readings were in the 90s across the southern counties.

By 700 pm CDT, twenty four hour rainfall was over six inches at Highfill and Rogers (both in Benton County). A few rain gauges captured more than ten inches of liquid. An impressive 4.12 inches was measured at Fayetteville (Washington County), with 3.12 inches at Harrison (Boone County). Flash flooding was serious in the northwest, with numerous roads closed in Benton and Washington Counties. This included sections of Highways 12, 59, 264, and 412. High water flowed into homes, and several people were rescued from stalled vehicles.

 

A wall cloud was noted at Russellville (Pope County) toward evening on 10/06/0219. This is where a mesocyclone (rotating column of air) existed within a thunderstorm, and is often a favored area for severe weather. The photo is courtesy of Aaron Gilkey.
In the picture: A wall cloud was noted at Russellville (Pope County) toward evening on 10/06/0219. This is where a mesocyclone (rotating column of air) existed within a thunderstorm, and is often a favored area for severe weather. The photo is courtesy of Aaron Gilkey. Click to enlarge.
Hail to golf ball size was observed near Atkins (Pope County) toward evening on 10/06/2019. The photo is courtesy of Harley Bell.
In the picture: Hail to golf ball size was observed near Atkins (Pope County) toward evening on 10/06/2019. The photo is courtesy of Harley Bell. Click to enlarge.
 

In the afternoon and evening, storms eventually worked to the south and east across the region. Along the way, there were several reports of severe weather. Golf ball size occurred near Atkins (Pope County), with quarter to half dollar size hail at Russellville (Pope County), Olmstead (Pulaski County), and around Hazen (Prairie County). A few miles east of Atkins (Pope County), a tree was blown onto the eastbound lanes of Interstate 40. A 56 mph gust was measured at the Stuttgart Airport in Fairmount (Prairie County).

By 900 am CDT on the 7th, outside of the deluge in the northwest, rainfall from a half inch to an inch and a half was common in central and eastern Arkansas. There were locally higher amounts over two inches.

 

Simulated radar data showed showers and thunderstorms spreading across the northwest half of Arkansas during the evening of 10/10/2019.
In the picture: Simulated radar data showed showers and thunderstorms spreading across the northwest half of Arkansas during the evening of 10/10/2019.
 

On the 10th, there was at least some potential of severe storms ahead of a new cold front. However, outside of a 65 mph estimated gust at Cecil (Franklin County), fireworks were limited during this event. Instead, there was another deluge in the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains of the north and west. By 700 am CDT on the 11th, rainfall exceeded three inches at Compton (Newton County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Mena (Polk County), Parks (Scott County), and Winslow (Washington County). Totals topped two inches at Booneville (Logan County), Fayetteville (Washington County), Highfill (Benton County), Jasper (Newton County), Ozark (Franklin County), Pine Ridge (Montgomery County), and Waldron (Scott County).

Well to the north, snow piled up in northeast North Dakota. Accumulations exceeded two feet in places. The town of Langdon, ND was buried under 27 inches of flakes. Winds gusting to 50 mph created blizzard conditions.

 

In the picture: With an early freeze coming, a warming fire was put on a wide screen television at the National Weather Service office in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) during the evening of 10/11/2019.
 

The cold air that accompanied the snow was on its way south, and it appeared that parts of the region were in for an early freeze. In fact, going by climatological normals, a first freeze is not supposed to happen until mid to late October in the north. So, this freeze was about one to two weeks premature.

On the morning of the 12th, the mercury dipped to 29 degrees at Ash Flat (Sharp County), Jessieville (Garland County), Lead Hill (Boone County), Mena (Polk County), and Siloam Springs (Benton County), and 30 degrees at Fayetteville (Washington County), Flippin (Marion County), Harrison (Boone County), Oden (Montgomery County), Rogers (Benton County), and Silver Hill (Searcy County).

 

There was a moderate to severe drought (D1/D2) in far southern Arkansas on 10/08/2019.
Drought Conditions (Percent Area)
Category Coverage
None 68.88%
D0-D4 31.12%
D1-D4 10.97%
D2-D4 1.36%
D3-D4 0%
D4 0%
In the picture: There was a moderate to severe drought (D1/D2) in far southern Arkansas on 10/08/2019.
 

Heading into mid-October, there were drought conditions over southern Arkansas. At El Dorado (Union County), only 0.41 inch of rain settled the dust from July 22nd through the end of September. The situation improved somewhat from October 1st through the 13th, with 1.31 inches of precipitation. This was only the beginning.

The front that pushed through on the 10th stalled along the Gulf Coast and moved back to the north. Late on the 14th into the 15th, precipitation focused along the front, and was most intense toward the Louisiana border. Several inches of rain was measured where drought conditions existed.

 

Forty eight hour rainfall at 700 am CDT on 10/16/2019.
In the picture: Forty eight hour rainfall at 700 am CDT on 10/16/2019.
 

Forty eight hour amounts through 700 am CDT on the 16th included 4.95 inches at El Dorado (Union County), 4.67 inches at Moro Bay State Park (Bradley County), 4.17 inches at Felsenthal Lock and Dam (Ashley/Union Counties), 3.56 inches at Fordyce (Dallas County), 3.29 inches at Portland (Ashley County), 2.73 inches at Eudora (Chicot County), 1.84 inches at Monticello (Drew County), and 1.77 inches at Texarkana (Miller County).

 

There was a slight to enhanced risk of severe weather across much of Arkansas late on 10/20/2019 and early the next morning. The forecast is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
In the picture: There was a slight to enhanced risk of severe weather across much of Arkansas late on 10/20/2019 and early the next morning. The forecast is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
 

Up to this point, there was plenty of rain to talk about, but severe weather was limited. That changed late on the 20th/early on the 21st. Hit and miss thunderstorms popped up quickly in central and eastern Oklahoma. Storms eventually gelled into a line that rapidly crossed Arkansas.

 

 

Severe weather reports in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 10/21/2019.
In the picture: Severe weather reports in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 10/21/2019.
 

As the line of storms tore through the region, a roof was removed from a building in Subiaco (Logan County). A carport was blown over at Conway (Faulkner County), with the same happening to a shed near Paragould (Greene County). Trees and/or powerlines were downed between Ashdown and Foreman (both in Little River County), northwest of Benton (Saline County), southeast of Bradley (Lafayette County), at Bergman (Boone County), Bismarck (Hot Spring County), Coal Hill (Johnson County), Danville (Yell County), De Queen (Sevier County), Hollis (Perry County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Monette (Craighead County), Nashville (Howard County), and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Winds gusted to 58 mph at Carlisle (Lonoke County), 55 mph at Newport (Jackson County), and 53 mph at Flippin (Marion County) and Harrison (Boone County).

Tragically, a downed tree fell through a house about five miles east of Rogers (Benton County) toward Beaver Lake. A 66-year-old man inside the home was killed. A damage survey conducted by the National Weather Service in Tulsa, OK indicated that winds gusted as high as 80 to 90 mph at times.

 

A supercell (storm with rotating updrafts and exhibiting features such as a hook echo and strong rotation) was near Highfill (Benton County) at 1218 am CDT on 10/21/2019. The supercell was part of a line of storms moving through western Arkansas.
Reflectivity at 1218 am CDT (10/21)  |  Storm Relative Velocity at 1218 am CDT (10/21)
More About Rotation
In the pictures: A supercell (storm with rotating updrafts and exhibiting features such as a hook echo and strong rotation) was near Highfill (Benton County) at 1218 am CDT on 10/21/2019. The supercell was part of a line of storms moving through western Arkansas. 
 

Just after midnight CDT, two tornadoes (rated EF1/EF2) were confirmed from Siloam Springs to Rogers (both in Benton County). The stronger of these was on the ground for just over 31 miles! Hangers were damaged at an airport close to Siloam Springs (Benton County). Numerous homes and businesses were hit, and outbuildings were destroyed.

 

In the picture: A weak tornado (rated EF1) damaged several structures in Tyronza (Poinsett County) early on 10/21/2019.
 

Between 400 am and 430 am CDT on the 21st, a weak tornado (rated EF1) traveled through rural areas (5.4 mile track) from ten miles southeast of Bradley (Lafayette County) to five miles southeast of Taylor (Columbia County). The tornado uprooted or snapped trees and partially removed roofs from a couple of homes. Just before 600 am CDT, a short-lived (1.2 mile track) weak tornado (rated EF1) caused some structural damage to an elementary school in Tyronza (Poinsett County). A gas station convenience store collapsed. A semi truck was also knocked on its side. At least five people were injured. 

 

In the picture: The number of tornadoes across Oklahoma as of 10/21/2019 was closing in on a state record set in 1999.
 

Outside of Arkansas, a powerful tornado (rated EF3) ripped up buildings and cut power to at least 150,000 customers on the north side of Dallas, TX between 1000 pm and 1100 pm CDT on the 20th. Fortunately, there were no fatalities. This was one of almost a dozen tornadoes in Texas. There were also a handful of tornadoes in Oklahoma, and this pushed the 2019 tornado count very close to the state record of 145 set in 1999. In southwest Missouri, seven tornadoes were spawned.

 

A storm system aloft ("L") headed from the southern Rockies to southern Missouri in the forty eight hour period ending at 100 pm CDT on 10/26/2019.
500 mb Map at 100 pm CDT (10/24)  |  500 mb Map at 100 am CDT (10/25)
500 mb Map at 100 pm CDT (10/25)  |  500 mb Map at 100 am CDT (10/26)
500 mb Map at 100 pm CDT (10/26)  |  Loop
In the pictures: A storm system aloft ("L") headed from the southern Rockies to southern Missouri in the forty eight hour period ending at 100 pm CDT on 10/26/2019.
 

An active pattern continued during the last week of October. A storm system aloft approached the area from the southern Plains on the 24th, and spread rain into locations north/west of Little Rock (Pulaski County). By 700 am CDT on the 25th, three to four inches of rain dumped at Winslow (Washington County), with two to three inches at Fayetteville (Washington County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Highfill (Benton County), and Ozark (Franklin County).

 

In the picture: More than a half foot of snow accumulated in the Texas panhandle on 10/24/2019.
 

While it was raining in the northwest, it was cold enough for snow in parts of the Texas panhandle and into southwest Oklahoma. On the 24th, 5.5 inches of snow piled up at Amarillo, TX. There was double the snow (11 inches) in Arnett, OK.

 

In the video: The satellite showed plenty of clouds from northwest Arkansas to the Texas panhandle on 10/24/2019, with moisture building toward the region from the Gulf of Mexico. The next day, clouds (and rain) became widespread. Moisture slowly exited on the 26th, with the remnants of Tropical Storm Olga (red ball) moving northward through Mississippi.
 

On the 25th, rain overspread much of Arkansas. Precipitation was especially heavy along the Mississippi River. Through 700 pm CDT on the 26th, rain gauges were filled with four to five inches of water at Marianna (Lee County) and West Memphis (Crittenden County), with three to four inches at Blytheville (Mississippi County), Cane Creek State Park (Lincoln County), Paragould (Greene County), and Portland (Ashley County), and two to three inches at Beedeville (Jackson County), Jonesboro (Craighead County), Monticello (Drew County), and Pocahontas (Randolph County).

A tropical system also formed. Tropical Storm Olga came to life briefly off the Louisiana coast during the afternoon of the 25th. On the 26th, the remnants of Olga produced wind damage in parts of Mississippi and southwest Tennessee. A 71 mph gust was measured at Tupelo, MS, with numerous trees downed. One tree fell through the mayor's house, and he was injured.

 

 

 Several inches of rain dumped in northwest Arkansas and in the east along the Mississippi River in the seventy two hour period ending at 700 pm CDT on 10/26/2019. Rain gradually overspread the region with time (shown in twenty four hour increments).
72 Hour Rain at 700 pm CDT (10/26)  |  24 Hour Rain at 700 am CDT (10/24)
24 Hour Rain at 700 am CDT (10/25)  |  24 Hour Rain at 700 am CDT (10/26)
In the pictures: Several inches of rain dumped in northwest Arkansas and in the east along the Mississippi River in the seventy two hour period ending at 700 pm CDT on 10/26/2019. Rain gradually overspread the region with time (shown in twenty four hour increments).
 

Following this event, it was assured that most sites would finish the month with above normal precipitation. In fact, totals were two to three times what is considered normal at El Dorado (Union County), Fayetteville (Washington County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Harrison (Boone County), and West Memphis (Crittenden County). 

 

Precipitation in October, 2019
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 12.07 4.33 +7.74 279%
Harrison (NC AR) 8.78 3.55 +5.23 247%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 6.75 4.26 +2.49 158%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 9.41 4.32 +5.09 218%
Little Rock (C AR) 7.02 4.91 +2.11 143%
West Memphis (EC AR) 10.88 4.21 +6.67 258%
Texarkana (SW AR) 5.15 4.93 +0.22 104%
El Dorado (SC AR) 10.27 5.19 +5.08 198%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 5.73 5.00 +0.73 115%

 

In the picture: There was a dusting of snow at Queen Wilhelmina State Park (Polk County) early on 10/31/2019.
 

There was one more episode of heavy rain on the 29th/30th. One to three inch amounts were tallied in a narrow swath from Texarkana (Miller County) to Little Rock (Pulaski County) and West Memphis (Crittenden County). As rain ended, temperatures dropped during the predawn hours of the 31st. There was enough moisture leftover for spotty light snow or flurries in the higher elevations of the north/west. In general, there was no accumulation, but a few spots had a dusting.

 

In the picture: There was a trace of snowfall at Harrison (Boone County) on 10/31/2019. This was the first recorded snowfall locally in October since 2001.
 

Any snow in October is somewhat rare in Arkansas. At Harrison (Boone County), for example, there was a trace of snow for the first time in October since 2001, and only the eighth time since records began in 1891.

 

Link of Interest
October Snowfall in Arkansas

 

Low temperatures on 11/01/2019.
In the picture: Low temperatures on 11/01/2019.
 

Clouds exited during the late morning/afternoon of the 31st. Even with sunshine, high temperatures were only in the 40s to lower 50s. This was well below average readings in the mid 60s to lower 70s. After dark, given a clear sky and light winds, the mercury dropped quickly. By 900 pm CDT, it was already 30 degrees at Fayetteville (Washington County) and Highfill (Benton County), 31 degrees at Mountain Home (Baxter County), and 32 degrees at Clinton (Van Buren County), Harrison (Boone County), and Mount Ida (Montgomery County). By the morning of November 1st, temperatures were subfreezing statewide.

 

Links of Interest
October 4, 2019 (heavy rain)
October 5-12, 2019 (isolated severe storms/areas of heavy rain/turning cooler)
October 14-15, 2019 (heavy rain)
October 20-21, 2019 (severe storms)
October 24-26, 2019 (heavy rain)
October 29-November 1, 2019 (heavy rain to flurries/widespread freeze)

 

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

 

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

 

October, 2019 Precipitation in North Little Rock Precipitation was at or above average at most locations, and a little below average in parts of northern Arkansas. Amounts at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to left.

 

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

 

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