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 (2012)/Pg1
 
Links of Interest
Storms of 2012 (in PDF)
Note: This is a file with lists of significant events (tornadoes, damaging winds, hail, etc) during the year in Arkansas.
Sandy and Drought Top U.S. Billion Dollar Weather Events in 2012
A Down Year for Tornadoes
Year 2012 (Little Rock) Year 2012 (Harrison)
Year 2012 (North Little Rock) Year 2012 (Pine Bluff)

 

2012 Statistics
Month Tornadoes Tornado Deaths Dmg Wind Deaths Flood/Flash Flood Deaths Lightning Deaths
Jan 7 (EF1: 4,
EF2: 3)
0 0 0 0
Feb 0 0 0 0 0
Mar 2 (EF0: 1, EF1: 1) 0 0 2 0
Apr 1 (EF1: 1) 0 0 0 0
May 0 0 0 0 0
Jun 1 (EF0: 1) 0 0 0 0
Jul 0 0 0 0 0
Aug 0 0 0 0 0
Sep 2 (EF0: 1, EF2: 1) 0 0 0 0
Oct 3 (EF0: 1, EF1: 2) 0 0 0 0
Nov 0 0 0 0 0
Dec 2 (EF1: 2) 0 0 0 0
Total 18 0 0 2 0

 

Warmest/Driest Years in Arkansas
Rank Year Avg. Temperature Year Avg. Precipitation
1 1921 63.70° 1963 32.35"
2 2012 63.40° 1943 34.81"
3 1998 63.10° 1936 34.94"
4 1938 63.00° 1901 35.44"
5 1954 62.90° 2005 36.21"
6 1933 62.70° 1924 37.24"
7 1927 62.60° 1954 37.77"
8 1925 62.50° 1896 37.86"
9 1896 62.30° 2010 39.11"
10 1911 62.30° 2012 39.79"

 

 

Most Memorable and Far Reaching Events Locally
 
Rotation was persistent in a storm that had a history of producing tornadoes for more than 100 miles during the evening of 01/22/2012. Well above normal temperatures made it feel like spring at times in January. On the 22nd, thunderstorms erupted in the southeast half of the state by evening. Seven tornadoes were spawned and baseball size hail was reported in places.
In the picture: Rotation was persistent in a storm that had a history of producing tornadoes for more than 100 miles during the evening of 01/22/2012.

 

 

A significant heavy rain event unfolded on March 19th, and continued through the 21st. A slow moving storm system in the southern Plains was responsible for the prolonged period of precipitation.
A storm system ("L") approaching from the west encountered a ridge of high pressure over the southeast United States in the seventy two hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 03/22/2012.
In the picture: A storm system ("L") approaching from the west encountered a ridge of high pressure over the southeast United States in the seventy two hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 03/22/2012. The high grinded the system to a halt. The main flow aloft was well to the north, and had difficulty carrying the system away.

 

Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on the 21st included 6.20 inches at Norfork (Baxter County), 6.10 inches at Mountain Home (Baxter County), 5.88 inches near Damascus (Van Buren County), 5.47 inches just northeast of Maumelle (Pulaski County), 4.45 inches at Sheridan (Grant County) and 4.35 inches at Calico Rock (Izard County).

This event resulted in two flood/flash flood deaths. Rock Creek at Boyle Park in Little Rock (Pulaski County) often overflows when rain becomes excessive. On the 21st, the body of a woman was found in the creek. She apparently drowned. The South Fork of the Spring River claimed the life of a four year old boy on the 24th. He went missing near a camp about two miles east of Saddle (Fulton County). It appears he fell into the river and drowned.

As a large swath of rain inched into the region, there was some severe weather along the leading edge. There were two weak tornadoes (rated EF0/EF1) in Crawford and Washington Counties during the evening of the 19th. On the 20th, straight-line winds gusting from 70 to 80 mph downed trees and power lines in Morrilton (Conway County), with some trees on houses. The occupant of one home was injured.

 

 

A severe to exceptional drought was noted in much of Arkansas on 07/31/2012.
It was a bad combination of very little rain and warmer than normal temperatures from April through July. A "flash" (rapidly developing) drought unfolded, with severe to extreme drought conditions across the state.
 
Drought Conditions (Percent Area)
Category Coverage
D0-D4 100%
D1-D4 99.66%
D2-D4 96.12%
D3-D4 80.63%
D4 44.46%
In the picture: A severe to exceptional drought was noted in much of Arkansas on 07/31/2012.

 

During this four month period, six to twelve inch rainfall deficits were common (thirty to sixty percent of normal rainfall). It was the driest April through July on record.

 

Precipitation (April Through July, 2012)
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 7.91 19.05 -11.14 41%
Harrison (NC AR) 6.40 16.39 -9.99 39%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 5.67 16.92 -11.25 34%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 9.62 17.35 -7.73 55%
Little Rock (C AR) 6.43 16.93 -10.50 38%
West Memphis (EC AR) 12.29 18.18 -5.89 68%
Texarkana (SW AR) 9.18 16.92 -7.74 54%
El Dorado (SC AR) 7.98 17.60 -9.62 45%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 10.11 17.49 -7.38 58%

 

Driest April Through July Periods in Arkansas
Year Amount
2012 9.03"
1896 10.75"
1901 10.78"
1926 11.30"
1936 11.62"
1925 11.68"
1914 11.70"
1934 11.71"
1998 11.96"
1988 12.13"

 

 

The drought continued into August, which is just about the time the tropics started getting more active. Toward the end of the month, Hurricane Isaac was nearing the Louisiana Coast.

 

The remnants of Isaac made landfall on the 28th, and then tracked through western Arkansas on the 30th/31st. Rainbands swirling around the system dumped six to more than ten inches of rain in central/eastern sections of the state. Flash Flood Emergencies were declared in England (Lonoke County), Fordyce (Dallas County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), and surrounding areas. Hurricane Isaac was just off the coast of Louisiana at 425 pm CDT on 08/28/2012.
In the picture: Hurricane Isaac was just off the coast of Louisiana at 425 pm CDT on 08/28/2012.

 

Forty Eight Hour Rainfall (through 700 am CDT on 09/01/2012)
Site Amount (Inches)
White Hall (Jefferson Co) 10.70
Providence (White Co) 8.88
Pine Bluff (Jefferson Co) 8.39
Steprock (White Co) 8.25
Augusta (Woodruff Co) 8.20
Fordyce (Dallas Co) 8.11
Carlisle (Lonoke Co) 7.09
Searcy (White Co) 6.39
Stuttgart (Arkansas Co) 6.11
Georgetown (White Co) 6.06
Star City (Lincoln Co) 5.82
Des Arc (Prairie Co) 5.26
Rohwer (Desha Co) 4.99
Cabot (Lonoke Co) 4.79
Kelso (Desha Co) 4.74
Felsenthal Lock and Dam (Union Co) 4.57

 

Several highways were under water and closed, with floodwater running into homes. Rainfall records were shattered at Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). August 24-hour rainfall (7.88 inches on the 30th/31st), daily rainfall (4.61 inches on the 31st) and monthly rainfall (10.70 inches) records were established.

On September 1st, tropical moisture remained in place as Isaac crossed Missouri. Temperatures climbed into the upper 80s to upper 90s. De Queen (Sevier County) made it to 100 degrees. Heat/humidity fueled severe thunderstorms from northeast into central Arkansas.  Trees and/or power lines were downed in and around Des Arc (Prairie County), Beebe and Judsonia (both in White County), Benton and Bryant (both in Saline County), Conway and Vilonia (both in Faulkner County) and near Morrilton (Conway County).

In the far northeast closer to Isaac, a tornado (rated EF2) affected the Corning (Clay County) area. At a local airport, several hangars were damaged. Two hangars were struck particularly hard, and numerous aircraft inside the hangars were thrown. Damage may exceed $5 million. A few miles to the northeast, another weak tornado (rated EF0) touched down briefly in a field. These were the first tornadoes in the state since June 4th, and only the 12th and 13th tornadoes of the year.

 

 

Snow totals in the twenty four hour period ending at 600 am CST on 12/26/2012.
In the picture: Snow totals in the twenty four hour period ending at 600 am CST on 12/26/2012.
 

An extremely rare event unfolded in Arkansas on December 25th (Christmas Day). Much of the region was buried under a thick blanket of heavy snow, with accumulations over a foot in some areas. By the time it was all over (during the early morning hours of the 26th), Perry (Perry County) had 17.5 inches on the ground. This was a statewide record for snow depth in December! Jessieville (Garland County) and Union Valley (Perry County) got 15 inches. At Houston (Perry County) and Hoxie (Lawrence County), 14 inches was measured. Judsonia (White County) and Morrilton (Conway County) had 13 inches.

 

Heavy Snow Reports (12/26/2012)
Site Amount (Inches)
Perry (Perry Co) 17.5
Jessieville (Garland Co) 15.0
Union Valley (Perry Co) 15.0
Houston (Perry Co) 14.0
Hoxie (Lawrence Co) 14.0
Judsonia (White Co) 13.0
Morrilton (Conway Co) 13.0
Petit Jean State Park (Conway Co) 13.0
Batesville (Independence Co) 12.5
Austin (Lonoke Co) 12.0
Bogg Springs (Polk Co) 12.0
Mountain View (Stone Co) 12.0
Pocahontas (Randolph Co) 12.0
Vandervoort (Polk Co) 12.0

 

At Little Rock (Pulaski County), the last time it snowed on Christmas and it stuck (more than a trace of snow depth) was 1926! During this event, 9 inches piled up on the 25th. It was not only the most snow ever on Christmas locally, it was the 8th snowiest day on record (the snowiest was March 6th, 1875 with 12 inches). There was an additional 1.3 inches early on the 26th (for an event total of 10.3 inches).

 

 

Other Events of Note
 
A cold front pushed into Arkansas from the Plains during the afternoon of 02/23/2012. People don't tend to associate late winter with temperatures in the 70s and 80s.
In the picture: A cold front pushed into Arkansas from the Plains during the afternoon of 02/23/2012. Record warmth (temperatures in the 70s/80s) existed ahead of the front.

 

On February 23rd, the mercury made it to 85 degrees at Monticello (Drew County), which was an all-time record high February reading. It was 82 degrees at Little Rock and Jacksonville (both in Pulaski County), 80 degrees at Hot Springs (Garland County), North Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Russellville (Pope County) and 78 degrees at Jonesboro (Craighead County). All of these tied or broke daily records.

 

 

The storm system responsible for bringing in these warm readings from the southwest moved over northern Arkansas during the day. As the system neared, the sea level pressure at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) fell to 29.31 inches. This tied the all-time low for February (on the 28th in 1987).

The real surprise was a lack of severe weather. When it gets this warm in winter, there is usually thunder at some point. However, humidity levels dropped below 30 percent ahead of the system. It was too dry for rain, and the real danger was wildfires.

 

On June 3rd, a cold front sagged into the area from the north and stalled. The front was a focus for showers and thunderstorms across the northern counties. Thousands of trees were downed in and around Shirley (Van Buren County) on 06/03/2012.
In the picture: Thousands of trees were downed in and around Shirley (Van Buren County) on 06/03/2012. Click to enlarge.

 

Damaging straight-line winds downed or snapped many trees at Shirley (Van Buren County), with some trees on houses. Gusts reached 80 mph at Green Forest (Carroll County) and Huntsville (Madison County)

On August 5th, a thunderstorm collapsed at Hot Springs (Garland County) and dropped temperatures from 105 degrees to the upper 70s and lower 80s. At the airport (to the west of town), wind speeds reached 43 mph shortly before 300 pm CDT. Closer to the storm core over the downtown area, speeds were likely closer to 80 mph. Winds this strong caused some damage to at least 100 structures, including a hotel, a theater, a bank and a car dealership.

 

Data from the Hot Springs Airport (Garland County) on 08/05/2012
Time Temp/Dewpoint Wind
223 pm CDT 105°/63° SW8
253 pm CDT 88°/66° NE30 G43
302 pm CDT 84°/65° NE28 G43
311 pm CDT 83°/68° S26 G40
316 pm CDT 82°/72° SE14 G35
Note: "G" is gust. Temperatures and dewpoints are in degrees F and winds are MPH. Rain began at 303 pm CDT.

 

 

On September 7th, a front from the Plains ended another round of triple digit heat, but also triggered thunderstorms. There were several lines of storms with bowing (backward C-shaped) segments. The bowing (or bulging) was caused by winds punching through the storms from behind. Where storms bowed out, damaging gusts resulted. Winds were estimated between 70 and 80 mph at Batesville (Independence County). At the local airport, a hangar was thrown onto Highway 167 and blocked traffic. Near Dover (Pope County), a trained spotter measured an 80 to 85 mph gust.

 

 

More Information
 
There is more concerning the year 2012 in Arkansas. To check out the rest of the story, click here.

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