Climate Data
Yearly Reports
Interested in what kind of weather occurred in a recent year? Check out the most memorable events below.
 
Arkansas Yearly Climate Summary (2008)/Pg2
 
Tornadoes
 
There were 81 tornadoes in 2008. There were a lot of tornadoes in 2008. The 81 tornadoes counted in Arkansas were the second most on record. In a normal year, there are 26 tornadoes.
In the picture: There were 81 tornadoes in 2008. The record for the most tornadoes is 107 in 1999. More than half of these (56) were spawned during one outbreak on January 21-22, 1999.

 

Largest Tornado Outbreaks Across Arkansas in 2008 
Date Number of Tornadoes Fatalities
May 2 14 7*
February 5 12 14
April 3-4 12 0
May 10 11 0
September 13 9 0
January 7-8 7 1
April 9-10 7 0
Note: One of the fatalities on May 2nd was caused by damaging straight-line winds in northwest Arkansas.

 

The severe weather season started early, with one of the largest January tornado outbreaks ever on the 7th and 8th. There were 58 tornadoes in seven states. At least three dozen of these were in Missouri. Arkansas was mostly spared, but not entirely. There were 7 tornadoes, with one person killed near Appleton (Pope County). The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed strong rotation (blue/green inbound winds adjacent to red outbound winds), with a tornado just southeast of Appleton (Pope County) at 839 am CST on 01/08/2008.
In the picture: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed strong rotation (blue/green inbound winds adjacent to red outbound winds), with a tornado just southeast of Appleton (Pope County) at 839 am CST on 01/08/2008.

 

It is interesting to note that a couple of tornadoes tracked through southeast Wisconsin on the 7th. This is the farthest north that tornadoes have occurred in January since the outbreak of January 24, 1967.

 

Two deadly tornadic supercells (storms with rotating updrafts) moved across northern Arkansas on 02/05/2008.
In the picture: Two deadly tornadic supercells (storms with rotating updrafts) moved across northern Arkansas on 02/05/2008. Storm #1 produced one long track tornado (122 miles). There was one tornado with Storm #2 as well. Fourteen people were killed (5 deaths in Pope County, 3 deaths in Van Buren County, 2 deaths in Conway and Izard Counties and 1 death in Baxter and Stone Counties).
 
Arguably, the most memorable tornadoes of 2008 occurred on February 5th. One tornado in particular (rated EF4) tracked 122 miles through seven counties in northern sections of the state. It was the longest track on record in Arkansas since 1950. It was the deadliest day of the year, with 14 people killed.

 

Longest Tracks in Arkansas Since 1950
When Length
February 5, 2008 122 miles
February 20, 1951 112 miles
April 30, 1954 92.4 miles
March 20, 1955 89.4 miles
December 24, 1982 63 miles
Note: This includes tracks that remained entirely in Arkansas, as well as tracks that entered from or exited into neighboring states.

 

A boat factory was destroyed by a tornado (rated EF4) at Clinton (Van Buren County) on 02/05/2008. Ground and aerial surveys (with the Civil Air Patrol) were performed by the National Weather Service to document the long track tornado. Some of the damage surveyed was staggering.
In the picture: A boat factory was destroyed by a tornado (rated EF4) at Clinton (Van Buren County) on 02/05/2008. Click to enlarge.

 

Another outbreak happened on April 3rd/4th. A dozen tornadoes were produced mainly during the evening hours. One parent supercell (i.e. storm with rotating updrafts) was responsible for most of the tornadoes. Planes were tossed by a tornado (rated EF2) at the North Little Rock Airport (Pulaski County) on 04/03/2008.
In the picture: Planes were tossed by a tornado (rated EF2) at the North Little Rock Airport (Pulaski County) on 04/03/2008. Click to enlarge.

 

The storm tracked through the Little Rock (Pulaski County) area, and directly impacted the National Weather Service (NWS) at the North Little Rock Airport. NWS employees headed for shelter just before a tornado hit at 1010 pm CDT. On the airport grounds, hangers were destroyed and planes were tossed.

 

A wedge shaped tornado entered Van Buren County from Conway County as witnessed along Highway 285 between Damascus and Rabbit Ridge (both in Van Buren County) on 05/02/2008. The largest outbreak of the year arrived on May 2nd. While severe weather is most likely during the afternoon and evening hours (when maximum heating often occurs), this episode started early in the day.
In the picture: A wedge shaped tornado entered Van Buren County from Conway County as witnessed along Highway 285 between Damascus and Rabbit Ridge (both in Van Buren County) on 05/02/2008. The picture is courtesy of Jessie Brown.

 

Between 8 and 9 am CDT, a tornado (rated EF3) rapidly developed in Conway County and moved northeast toward Damascus (Van Buren County). This was the most destructive tornado of the day, and killed 5 people. By the end of the event, 14 tornadoes were spawned across the state.

 

 

On May 10th, there was major destruction at Stuttgart (Arkansas County) as a tornado (rated EF3) roared through the area. On the south side of town, there was damage to at least 200 homes and 50 businesses. This was one of 11 tornadoes in the state that day. This is one of several businesses that was leveled by a tornado (rated EF3) at Stuttgart (Arkansas County) on 05/10/2008.
In the picture: This is one of several businesses that was leveled by a tornado (rated EF3) at Stuttgart (Arkansas County) on 05/10/2008. Click to enlarge.

 

Some Notes About May 10, 2008
(1) A Discovery Channel camera crew was at the National Weather Service in Little Rock (Pulaski County) during the afternoon and evening of the 10th, and filmed during warning operations.
(2) A chase team from the University of Oklahoma was in Arkansas with the portable Doppler On Wheels (DOW), and managed to obtain data from the tornadic supercell that hit Stuttgart (Arkansas County).

 

While no deaths were reported in Arkansas, that was not the case farther west. A long track killer tornado (rated EF4) claimed the lives of at least twenty people in eastern Oklahoma and southwest Missouri. Most of the fatalities occurred at Picher, OK and Racine, MO.

 

Links of Interest
January 7-8, 2008 (damage pictures)
February 5, 2008 (more on the event)
April 3-4, 2008 (damage pictures)
The NWS Tornado of April 3, 2008 (more on the event)
May 2, 2008 (more on the event)
May 10, 2008 (damage pictures)

 

More Information
 
There is more concerning 2008, including two tropical systems and a wind event. To check out the rest of the story, click here.

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