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September, 2019 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
After such a wet year so far in Arkansas, a switch was thrown and the rain stopped in September. There was nary a drop of rain in places through the first half of the month, and a drought unfolded. It was also hot, with well above average temperatures and triple digit readings at times. Later in the month, a system from the tropics and fronts from the north brought some precipitation to the region.   

 

Record Temperatures
 
There were numerous high temperature records tied or broken in September, mainly in the middle of the month. Check out the records below.

 

Site Record High (Date of Occurrence)
Batesville 97 (09/16), 97 (09/17), 98 (09/18)
El Dorado 102 (09/08)
Hot Springs 101 (09/08), 98 (09/17), 98 (09/18)
Jonesboro 99T (09/18), 96T (09/30)
Monticello 101T (09/08), 97T (09/30)
North Little Rock 95 (09/17)
Stuttgart 95 (09/11), 95 (09/12), 95 (09/13), 97 (09/16), 98 (09/17), 98 (09/18), 94 (09/28), 93 (09/29), 96 (09/30)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Hot/Mostly Dry in the South
 
As Hurricane Dorian ("L") tracked along the East Coast, high pressure ("H") kept Arkansas hot and mostly dry from September 5th through the 8th, 2019.
In the picture: As Hurricane Dorian ("L") tracked along the East Coast, high pressure ("H") kept Arkansas hot and mostly dry from September 5th through the 8th, 2019.
 

September started off hot in Arkansas. On the 6th, the high temperature at Little Rock (Pulaski County) was 99 degrees. If the mercury had made it to 100 degrees, it would have been the first time since 1922 that readings failed to reach triple digits in the summer (June, July, and August) but succeeded in September. Meanwhile, it was 101 degrees at El Dorado (Union County) and 100 degrees at Hot Springs (Garland County). The century mark was hit again on the 7th/8th at both sites, as well as Monticello (Drew County) and Texarkana (Miller County).

 

Days at or above 90 degrees to begin September (through the 19th) at Little Rock (Pulaski County) from 1950 to 2019.
In the picture: Days at or above 90 degrees to begin September (through the 19th) at Little Rock (Pulaski County) from 1950 to 2019.
 

By the 19th, it was at least 90 degrees at Little Rock (Pulaski County) every day of the month. This had not occurred locally in recorded history dating back to the 1870s. As the month ended, there were 22 days with 90 degree readings, which tied a record. It was the second warmest September locally. At Harrison (Boone County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), it was the third and fifth warmest September respectively. It was actually warmer in September than August at West Memphis (Crittenden County). Across the state, average temperatures were 6 to 10 degrees above normal.  

 

Average Temperatures in September, 2019
Site Avg Temp +/-
Fayetteville (NW AR) 76.3° +7.8°
Harrison (NC AR) 76.7° +7.5°
Jonesboro (NE AR) 80.2° +8.3°
Fort Smith (WC AR) 81.7° +7.8°
Little Rock (C AR) 81.2° +6.2°
West Memphis (EC AR) 82.6° +9.6°
Texarkana (SW AR) 82.6° +7.8°
El Dorado (SC AR) 82.7° +8.1°
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 81.4° +7.3°

 

There was a moderate to severe drought (D1/D2) in far southern and western Arkansas on 09/17/2019.
Drought Conditions (Percent Area)
Category Coverage
None 58.55%
D0-D4 41.45%
D1-D4 10.52%
D2-D4 2.46%
D3-D4 0%
D4 0%
In the picture: There was a moderate to severe drought (D1/D2) in far southern and western Arkansas on 09/17/2019.
 
Not only did it feel like a furnace at times, it was also mostly dry through the first half of the month. A moderate to severe drought (D1/D2) developed in far southern and western Arkansas.

 

There was a moderate to high wildfire danger in much of northeast, central, and southern Arkansas on 09/18/2019. Burn bans were posted in twenty two of seventy five counties, mainly in southern sections of the state.
In the pictures: There was a moderate to high wildfire danger in much of northeast, central, and southern Arkansas on 09/18/2019. Burn bans were posted in twenty two of seventy five counties, mainly in southern sections of the state.
 

The wildfire danger increased, especially across the southern half of the state. There were burn bans in almost two dozen counties on the 18th, mostly in the south.

 

Making History

Statewide, it was the second warmest September since 1895, and only a tenth of a degree from the record set in 1925. It was a Top 30 dry September, but far more wet (by an inch and a half) than the record driest year of 2004. Breaking the state into sections, there was record warmth in Climate Division 7 (southwest counties) and Top 3 dryness in Climate Division 8 (south central counties). This is where drought conditions developed.

 

The satellite showed scattered thunderstorms developed from central into southeast Arkansas during the afternoon of 09/09/2019.
Satellite at 240 pm CDT (09/09)  |  Satellite at 410 pm CDT (09/09)
Satellite at 540 pm CDT (09/09)  |  Loop
In the pictures: The satellite showed scattered thunderstorms developed from central into southeast Arkansas during the afternoon of 09/09/2019.
 

The only decent rain through the first two weeks occurred from central into southeast sections of the state on the 9th. Scattered to numerous thunderstorms popped up during the afternoon and continued into the evening. In the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on the 10th, one to more than two inches of precipitation fell at Little Rock (Pulaski County), Malvern (Hot Spring County), Monticello (Drew County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), and Sheridan (Grant County).

Severe weather was spotty at most. Damaging winds removed part of a roof from a building in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Trees and power lines were downed just southeast of McGehee (Desha County). Gusts were estimated around 60 mph at Arkansas City (Desha County).

 

The remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda were projected to remain over eastern Texas for at least a couple of days as of 1000 pm CDT on 09/17/2019. More than thirty inches of rain dumped between Houston, TX and Beaumont, TX.
In the picture: The remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda were projected to remain over eastern Texas for at least a couple of days as of 1000 pm CDT on 09/17/2019. More than thirty inches of rain dumped between Houston, TX and Beaumont, TX.
 

Later in the month, the tropics came into play. The remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda slowly headed this way from the southwest from the 17th through the 19th. The system produced way too much rain along the Texas Gulf Coast. A few spots between Houston, TX and Beaumont, TX received more than three feet of liquid! Much of this dumped in twenty four hours. Some homes that were flooded a little more than two years ago by Hurricane Harvey (in August, 2017) were threatened by high water again. Hundreds of vehicles were abandoned and more than a thousand people were rescued. At least five people were killed. 

 

In the picture: A whopping 9.21 inches of rain was measured in Houston, TX on 09/19/2019. This made it the wettest September calendar day locally and the fifth 5th wettest calendar day for any month.
 

The 9.21 inches of rain in Houston, TX on the 19th made it the wettest September calendar day in the city. It was also the 5th wettest calendar day for any month.

By the time Imelda reached Arkansas, it was not nearly so potent. One to two inches of rain was measured on the 19th/20th in far western sections of the state. This included Ashdown (Little River County), Big Fork, Bogg Springs, and Mena (all in Polk County), Murfreesboro (Pike County), Nashville (Howard County), and Pine Ridge (Montgomery County).

 

Forecast maps showed a cold front slowly sagging southward through Arkansas on 09/23/2019. The front stalled and then moved back to the north a couple of days later, with another cold front approaching from the Plains. These fronts brought chances of showers and thunderstorms to the region.
Forecast Map at 700 am CDT (09/23)  |  Forecast Map at 700 pm CDT (09/23)
Forecast Map at 700 am CDT (09/24)  |  Forecast Map at 700 pm CDT (09/24)
Forecast Map at 700 am CDT (09/25)  |  Loop
In the pictures: Forecast maps showed a cold front slowly sagging southward through Arkansas on 09/23/2019. The front stalled and then moved back to the north a couple of days later, with another cold front approaching from the Plains. These fronts brought chances of showers and thunderstorms to the region.
 

While not a lot fell from the sky here at home with Imelda, lots of clouds ended the streak of 90 degree days at Little Rock (Pulaski County) on the 20th. In fact, readings failed to reach 90 degrees through the 26th. This was mainly due to cold fronts pushing into the region from the Plains.

One of these fronts sagged southward through the area on the 23rd and 24th. Another front followed a couple of days later. The fronts triggered scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly over the northern counties. 

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a cluster to strong to severe thunderstorms in northern Arkansas at 330 pm CDT on 09/25/2019. In the hours to follow, the storms eventually weakened as they tracked to the southeast, with numerous storms arriving from the northwest during the predawn hours on the 26th.
Radar at 330 pm CDT (09/25)  |  Radar at 530 pm CDT (09/25)
Radar at 730 pm CDT (09/25)  |  Radar at 930 pm CDT (09/25)
Radar at 1130 pm CDT (09/25)  |  Radar at 130 am CDT (09/26)
Loop
In the pictures: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a cluster to strong to severe thunderstorms in northern Arkansas at 330 pm CDT on 09/25/2019. In the hours to follow, the storms eventually weakened as they tracked to the southeast, with numerous storms arriving from the northwest during the predawn hours on the 26th.
 

The most active period as far as severe weather was the afternoon and evening of the 25th. Isolated severe storms developed in the northeast, and were responsible for large hail and wind damage. 

 

Strong to severe thunderstorms in northeast Arkansas were witnessed roughly 70 to 80 miles away in Sherwood (Pulaski County) at 645 pm CDT on 09/25/2019.
In the picture: Strong to severe thunderstorms in northeast Arkansas were witnessed roughly 70 to 80 miles away in Sherwood (Pulaski County) at 645 pm CDT on 09/25/2019.
 

Nickel to quarter size hail was noted around Batesville (Independence County), with penny size hail near Jonesboro (Craighead County). Trees and/or power lines were toppled at Moorefield and Sulphur Rock (both in Independence County). A scoreboard was blown down at Trumann (Poinsett County).

 

Eight day rainfall through 700 am CDT on 09/26/2019.
In the picture: Eight day rainfall through 700 am CDT on 09/26/2019.
 

Pockets of heavy rain yielded several inches of rain in places from the 23rd through the 25th. This happened mainly north of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Seventy two hour amounts through 700 am CDT on the 26th included 6.07 inches at Fayetteville (Washington County), 5.38 inches at Clarksville (Johnson County), almost 5.00 inches at Hattieville (Conway County), 4.70 inches at Searcy (White County), 4.67 inches at Winslow (Washington County), 3.40 inches at Alicia (Lawrence County), 3.20 inches at Ozark (Franklin County), 3.13 inches at Lead Hill (Boone County), 3.11 inches at Highfill (Benton County), and 3.00 inches at Paragould (Greene County).

There was street flooding in Clarksville (Johnson County) during the morning of the 23rd. High water covered roads in Fayetteville (Washington County) and Highfill (Benton County) on the 24th, with a couple of people rescued at the former location. Eight inches of water flowed across the left lane of southbound Interstate 49 near Bella Vista (Benton County) during the wee hours of the 26th.

Even with this deluge, much of the region was still dry in September. Precipitation was an inch to more than two inches below average at many sites. Amounts were under an inch at El Dorado (Union County), Texarkana (Miller County), and West Memphis (Crittenden County). Only 0.41 inch of rain settled the dust in El Dorado (Union County) since July 22nd. 

 

Precipitation in September, 2019
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 7.58 4.82 +2.76 157%
Harrison (NC AR) 1.79 4.20 -2.41 43%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 1.65 3.06 -1.41 54%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 2.26 4.05 -1.79 56%
Little Rock (C AR) 1.36 3.18 -1.82 43%
West Memphis (EC AR) 0.50 2.84 -2.34 18%
Texarkana (SW AR) 0.92 3.43 -2.51 27%
El Dorado (SC AR) 0.14 3.11 -2.97 5%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 2.50 2.69 -0.19 93%

 

In the picture: Hurricane Dorian moved away from the Outer Banks of North Carolina on 09/06/2019.
 

Outside of Arkansas, there was weather of opposite extremes in September. On the 6th, Hurricane Dorian departed the Outer Banks of North Carolina as a Category 1 storm (90 mph sustained winds). In its wake, 10 to 15 inches of rain was unleashed at many locations from near Charleston, SC to Hatteras, NC. The system battered Nova Scotia the next day, with at least 400,000 power outages reported. The month started with Dorian turning into a monster (185 mph sustained winds) over the Bahamas, and stalling for several days. Massive destruction occurred in the Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands. Over 70,000 people were left homeless. In the northern Rockies, at least four feet of snow piled up at Browning, MT on the 28th/29th. Wind gusts from 30 to 35 mph created drifts as high as houses. At Billings, MT, 19.3 inches of snow accumulated. It was the second highest two day total on record.    

 

Drought conditions as of 09/24/2019.
In the picture: Drought conditions as of 09/24/2019.
 

Otherwise, a lack of rain and record heat led to a flash (rapidly expanding and worsening) drought across the southern United States. From Alabama and Florida to Virginia, moderate drought (D1) conditions affected 6 percent of a six state area on the 3rd. By the 24th, the coverage increased to 38 percent. In Kentucky and Tennessee, the D1 area went from less than 2 percent to around 60 percent in three weeks.

 

Links of Interest
September 6-12, 2019 (hot/mostly dry/isolated severe storms)
September 18-26, 2019 (remnants of Imelda/areas of heavy rain/isolated severe storms)

 

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

 

Temperatures and Precipitation
Temperatures were well above average in September. Readings at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to right. September, 2019 Temperatures in North Little Rock

 

September, 2019 Precipitation in North Little Rock Precipitation was below to well below average across much of the area, and above average in parts of the northwest. Amounts at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to left.

 

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

 

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