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 (2010)/Pg1
 
Introduction
 
While it was hot (in the summer) and dry (persistent drought conditions) in 2010, the year may be remembered most for a big flash flood event (the Albert Pike tragedy of June 11th). It was a cold beginning, with snow in almost every state at one time (February 12th). The weather went from snowy to severe in the spring. The town of Scotland (Van Buren County) was devastated by a tornado in April (the 30th). But it was the 32nd tornado of the year (on December 31st) that was the deadliest, with four (4) fatalities in Cincinnati (Washington County).

As you read various weather accounts, you may not be familiar with where events occurred in the Little Rock County Warning Area. To help you along, refer to a map by clicking here. Onward we go...

 

Links of Interest
Storms of 2010 (in PDF)
Note: This is a file with lists of significant events (tornadoes, damaging winds, hail, etc) during the year in Arkansas.
Year 2010 (Little Rock)
Year 2010 (North Little Rock)
Year 2010 (Harrison)
Year 2010 (Pine Bluff)

 

Developing Drought
 
After a record wet 2009, there was big turnaround in 2010. Rainfall was scarce, especially in southern and eastern Arkansas. Little Rock (Pulaski County) only received 36.52 inches, which is more than 45 inches less than the 2009 total (81.79 inches)! It was the 14th driest year locally, and the driest since 2005. At Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), a deficit of 20.51 inches made it the driest year on record. By contrast, Harrison (Boone County) finished above normal for the third year in a row.

 

Percent of normal rainfall in 2010. Much of the state had 50 to 75 percent of normal precipitation, and 25 to 50 percent in the far southeast.
In the picture: Percent of normal rainfall in 2010.

 

Precipitation in 2010
Site Amount +/- % of Normal Months Below Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 42.15 -3.87 92% 09
Harrison (NC AR) 46.12 +0.92 102% 07
Jonesboro (NE AR) 32.22 -13.96 70% 10
Fort Smith (WC AR) 35.27 -8.60 80% 09
Little Rock (C AR) 36.52 -14.41 72% 10
West Memphis (EC AR) 51.83 -0.97 98% 07
Texarkana (SW AR) 29.53 -17.85 62% 11
El Dorado (SC AR) 34.23 -19.88 63% 08
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 31.97 -20.51 61% 09

 

The year started relatively wet (with more snow than usual), but a dry trend followed across much of the region in the spring and summer.
Departure from normal precipitation in 2010.
In the picture: Departure from normal precipitation in 2010. Monthly departures were summed at Harrison (Boone County), Little Rock (Pulaski County) and El Dorado (Union County).

 

Conditions did not deteriorate as much in parts of the north due to surplus rain in July and again in September (provided by the remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine).

 

There was a moderate to extreme drought in about the southeast half of Arkansas as of 10/26/2010. In the south/east, soil moisture (ground water) levels slowly dropped, and an extreme drought evolved in a few spots during the fall. As vegetation dried out, wildfires became a major concern.
In the picture: There was a moderate to extreme drought in about the southeast half of Arkansas as of 10/26/2010. The image is courtesy of the U.S. Drought Monitor.

 

Link of Interest
Drought in 2010

 

Cold to Hot
 
Well below normal temperatures and heavy snow events were common in late January and early February (mainly in the northern half of Arkansas). More snow followed in the northwest during the latter half of March.

 

Average Temperatures
Site Temp (Jan) +/- Temp (Feb) +/-
Fayetteville (NW AR) 33.0° -1.3° 32.7° -7.0°
Harrison (NC AR) 32.9° -2.0° 33.3° -6.9°
Jonesboro (NE AR) 34.0° -1.6° 34.9° -5.9°
Fort Smith (WC AR) 36.9° -1.1° 37.9° -5.8°
Little Rock (C AR) 38.8° -1.3° 38.2° -7.0°
West Memphis (EC AR) 36.7° -0.8° 37.4° -5.1°
Texarkana (SW AR) 40.5° -3.8° 40.7° -8.9°
El Dorado (SC AR) 40.4° -3.2° 40.9° -7.4°
Monticello (SE AR) 39.4° -1.1° 40.0° -4.9°

 

Arkansas typically does not get so much snow, and the cold air was relentless. Roughly five inches of snow had piled up in Sherwood (Pulaski County) by 1245 pm CST on 02/08/2010.
In the picture: Roughly five inches of snow had piled up in Sherwood (Pulaski County) by 1245 pm CST on 02/08/2010. However, at the time of the photo, rain was falling. Click to enlarge.

 

A ridge of high pressure to the west and a trough of low pressure to the east created a northwest wind flow right out of Canada on 01/05/2010.
El Niño (warmer than normal water in the equatorial Pacific Ocean) created a ridge of high pressure in the western United States.
In the picture: A ridge of high pressure to the west and a trough of low pressure to the east created a northwest wind flow on 01/05/2010. Much below normal temperatures were experienced across the central United States, including Arkansas. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK.

 

Meanwhile, there was lowering pressure and troughing in the east (indicated by a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation (AO) index). The flow aloft funneled southward from Canada between ridge and trough.

 

In early February, a powerful storm brought as much as three feet of snow to the mid-Atlantic region (called "Snowmageddon"). By the 12th, there was at least some snow on the ground in 49 states (including Arkansas). Snow cover on 02/12/2010.
In the picture: Snow cover on 02/12/2010. The graphic is courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC.

 

Departure from normal temperatures in 2010.
The cold did not last, and transitioned into extreme heat by the summer.
In the picture: Departure from normal temperatures in 2010. Monthly departures were summed at Harrison (Boone County), Little Rock (Pulaski County) and El Dorado (Union County).

 

High pressure was persistent from June through August. It was one of the hottest summers on record. High pressure ("H") over the southern United States brought very hot conditions to Arkansas in early August, 2010.
In the picture: High pressure ("H") over the southern United States brought very hot conditions to Arkansas in early August, 2010. Storm systems and fronts followed the main flow aloft around the periphery of the high.

 

The hottest temperatures were in August, especially early in the month. At Little Rock (Pulaski County), the mercury reached 107 degrees...the warmest temperature since August 30, 2000. Harrison (Boone County) reported 100 degrees for the first time in three years.

There were some impressive heat records broken, including 60 consecutive 90 degree days (from June 30th to August 28th) at Little Rock (Pulaski County).

 

Heat Records at Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 2010
(1) Hottest Average Summer Temperature (85.8 °F)
(2) 90 Degree Days (117)
(3) Consecutive 90 Degree Days (60)
(4) Consecutive 70 Degree Nights (77)

 

Nighttime readings were warm (and muggy) as well. Readings at or above 70 degrees occurred locally on 77 straight mornings (June 8th to August 23rd), which is a first. Seasonal lows were the second warmest ever at Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). At Harrison (Boone County), the average low was the warmest since 1980, and the second warmest on record. In August alone, lows were above 75 degrees on 9 mornings. This was the most in ten years.

 

Summer average temperature records were set at nine locations, mainly in the southeast half of Arkansas in 2010.

Record average summer temperatures were set at multiple locations in the southeast half of the state. This included the Batesville Airport (Independence County), Camden (Ouachita County), Clarendon (Monroe County), Des Arc (Prairie County), Fordyce (Dallas County), Leola (Grant County), Monticello (Drew County) and Sheridan (Grant County).

In the picture: Summer average temperature records were set at nine locations, mainly in the southeast half of Arkansas in 2010.

 

 

More Information
 
There is more concerning 2010, including a devastating flash flood event and several killer tornadoes. To check out the rest of the story, click here.

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