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Isolated Severe Storms/Areas of Heavy Rain on July 9-11, 2021
 
A cold front was headed toward Arkansas from the northwest, and had the potential to bring severe thunderstorms and flooding rain to the state on 07/10/2021.
In the picture: A cold front was headed toward Arkansas from the northwest, and had the potential to bring severe thunderstorms and flooding rain to the state on 07/10/2021.
 

It was woefully dry in sections of Arkansas from June 11th through July 8th. During this time frame, rainfall was two to three inches below average at multiple major reporting sites, including El Dorado (Union County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), and West Memphis (Crittenden County). To the north, a storm system was expected to drag a cold front into the region on July 10th. Widespread showers and thunderstorms were in the forecast, along with the possibility of severe weather.

 

Precipitation (June 11 - July 8, 2021)
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 2.09 3.94 -1.85 53%
Harrison (NC AR) 2.50 3.49 -0.99 72%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 1.42 2.84 -1.42 50%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 1.44 4.01 -2.57 36%
Little Rock (C AR) 0.53 3.15 -2.52 17%
West Memphis (EC AR) 1.28 3.78 -2.50 34%
Texarkana (SW AR) 2.34 3.37 -1.03 69%
El Dorado (SC AR) 0.83 3.58 -2.75 23%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 0.59 3.06 -2.47 19%

 

Leading up to the arrival of the front, a few spots benefitted from isolated slow moving storms and prolonged downpours. During the early evening of the 8th, Conway (Faulkner County) got an impressive 2.88 inches of precipitation  On the 9th, Newport (Jackson County) and West Memphis (Crittenden County) got just shy of two inches of liquid, racking up 1.95 inches and 1.92 inches respectively. Batesville (Independence County) received 2.06 inches of rain in 44 minutes, and recorded a 52 mph gust. There was also quarter size hail at Huff (Independence County).

It was hot as the front approached, with high temperatures in the lower to mid 90s on the 8th at most locations. The high at Little Rock (Pulaski County) was 96 degrees, which matched the highest reading of the summer thus far (on June 12th). The mercury hit 97 degrees at Newport (Jackson County), and 96 degrees at Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and Jonesboro (Craighead County).

 

In the video: The satellite loop showed showers and thunderstorms developing westward (through Oklahoma toward the Texas panhandle) and moving southward (toward the Gulf Coast) during the evening of 07/10/2021 and early the next morning.
 

On the 10th, things did not go exactly as planned. Storms tended to build to the west of Arkansas (from Oklahoma into Texas), and danced around the Ozark Mountains of the north.

 

In the video: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a line of strong thunderstorms surging through areas from Little Rock (Pulaski County) westward during the late evening of 07/10/2021.
 

Less than a tenth of an inch of rain was measured at Fayetteville (Washington County), Harrison (Boone County), and Mountain Home (Baxter County). A line of storms eventually formed across the western and central counties as the evening progressed.

 

Reports of severe weather in the forty eight hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 07/11/2021.
In the picture: Reports of severe weather in the forty eight hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 07/11/2021.
 

The line of storms was generally not severe, but some wind damage occurred toward midnight CDT as trees were downed or snapped along and just south of Interstate 630 from west Little Rock (Pulaski County) toward the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. Trees were also toppled in parts of Lonoke County between 1200 am and 100 am CDT on the 11th.

 

Impactful Severe Weather to the North of Arkansas

Reports of severe weather were more numerous and impactful from Nebraska and Kansas into Missouri and Illinois. There were several instances of baseball to softball size hail, with the largest stones (4.25 inches in diameter) just northwest of Alliance, NE. At least four weak tornadoes (rated EF0/EF1) were spawned thirty to fifty miles west and northwest of Springfield, IL. Crops and a few barns were damaged or destroyed.

 

Twenty four rainfall through 700 am CDT on 07/11/2021.
In the picture: Twenty four rainfall through 700 am CDT on 07/11/2021.
 

Rain was the most widespread and heavy during this event in southwest Arkansas. In the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on the 11th, Fordyce (Dallas County) got 1.90 inches of rain, with 1.72 inches at Waldron (Scott County), 1.71 inches at El Dorado (Union County), 1.66 inches at De Queen (Sevier County), 1.62 inches at Antoine (Pike County), 1.48 inches just south of Mount Ida (Montgomery County) and at Murfreesboro (Pike County), 1.47 inches at Pine Ridge (Montgomery County), 1.43 inches at Ashdown (Little River County), and 1.42 inches at Nashville (Howard County).

 

High temperatures were five to more than fifteen degrees cooler across Arkansas on 07/11/2021 than on 07/08/2021.
In the picture: High temperatures were five to more than fifteen degrees cooler across Arkansas on 07/11/2021 than on 07/08/2021.
 

It was cooler behind the front on the 11th, with isolated to scattered precipitation continuing. The thermometer maxed out at only 79 degrees at Harrison (Boone County), 80 degrees at Blytheville (Mississippi County), 81 degrees at Fayetteville (Washington County), Highfill (Benton County), and Newport (Jackson County), and 82 degrees at Mountain Home (Baxter County), North Little Rock (Pulaski County), and West Memphis (Crittenden County).

 

Well above average temperatures were noted across much of the western United States in the thirty day period ending on 07/11/2021. Readings were mostly below average from the southern Plains to the southeast states.
In the picture: Well above average temperatures were noted across much of the western United States in the thirty day period ending on 07/11/2021. Readings were mostly below average from the southern Plains to the southeast states.
 

The mild spell was nothing new. Temperatures were largely cooler than average from mid-June to the present from the southern Plains to the southeast United States (including Arkansas). Meanwhile, there was a heat wave in the western states, with much warmer than average readings from the Pacific Coast into the Rockies.

 

Heat and Fire in the West/Mild and Wet in the East

The high temperatures at Las Vegas, NV hit 117 degrees on July 10th. This tied the all-time high reached on July 24, 1942. The day before, the mercury topped out at 130 degrees at Death Valley, CA. The same thing happened less than a year ago (on August 16, 2020), and it was the hottest reading worldwide since July, 1931. In California, the Beckwourth Complex Fire torched more than 80,000 acres north of Truckee, CA by the 11th. The fire was in the process of crossing into Nevada, and destroying at least twenty homes.

On the 12th, six to ten inches of rain dumped about fifteen miles northeast of Philadelphia, PA in a small portion of eastern Pennsylvania and adjacent areas of New Jersey. At nearby Northeast Philadelphia Airport, 2.42 inches of liquid came down in an hour. Boats were used to rescue residents, and shelters were set up for those displaced from their homes. At Central Park in New York, NY, 8.49 inches of precipitation was tallied from the 1st through the 12th. It was already the seventh wettest July on record at the site, and exceeded what is normally expected during the month (4.60 inches) by almost four inches. The average temperature for the month was cooler than usual (by 2.5 degrees) after warmer than normal readings in June (by 2.3 degrees). 

 

Storm Reports
Preliminary reports of severe weather and heavy rain in the Little Rock County Warning Area on July 9-11, 2021 (in red).
Submit a storm report.
There were isolated reports of strong to damaging winds, hail, and heavy rain on July 9th through the 11th. For a look at the reports, click here.
 
Link of Interest
Plot Reports
In the picture: Preliminary reports of severe weather and heavy rain in the Little Rock County Warning Area on July 9-11, 2021 (in red).