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 (2013)/Pg1
 
Links of Interest
Storms of 2013 (in PDF)
Note: This is a file with lists of significant events (tornadoes, damaging winds, hail, etc) during the year in Arkansas.
Year 2013 (Arkansas)
Year 2013 (Little Rock) Year 2013 (North Little Rock)
Year 2013 (Harrison) Year 2013 (Pine Bluff)
National Overview - Annual Report (2013)
Billion Dollar Events

 

2013 Statistics
Month Tornadoes Tornado Deaths Dmg Wind Deaths Flood/Flash Flood Deaths Lightning Deaths
Jan 5 (EF0: 2,
EF1: 2, EF2: 1)
0 0 0 0
Feb 1 (EF0: 1) 0 0 0 0
Mar 0 0 0 0 0
Apr 6 (EF0: 1, EF1: 3, EF2: 2) 0 0 0 0
May 17 (EF1: 14, EF2: 3) 1 1 6 0
Jun 1 (EF1: 1) 0 0 0 0
Jul 0 0 0 0 0
Aug 0 0 0 0 0
Sep 0 0 0 0 0
Oct 1 (EF1: 1) 0 0 0 0
Nov 0 0 0 0 0
Dec 3 (EF1: 1, EF2: 2) 1 0 0 0
Total 34 2 1 6 0
Note: The statewide total of 34 tornadoes in 2013 was about average. The most active period of the year was May 30th - June 1st. During this time frame, there were fifteen (15) tornadoes counted and seven (7) lives claimed. Six (6) of these fatalities were the result of flash floods, with a tornado responsible for the other death.

 

Average Temperatures in 2013
Site Avg Temp +/-
Fayetteville (NW AR) 56.2° -0.9°
Harrison (NC AR) 56.9° -1.0°
Jonesboro (NE AR) 59.7° -0.3°
Fort Smith (WC AR) 61.8° +0.1°
Little Rock (C AR) 61.9° -0.8°
West Memphis (EC AR) 60.3° -0.7°
Texarkana (SW AR) 63.3° -0.6°
El Dorado (SC AR) 62.5° -1.0°
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 61.9° -1.0°
Note: The statewide average temperature was 1.2° below normal. This made 2013 the 18th coolest year on record (since 1895).

 

Precipitation in 2013
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 46.63 48.51 -1.88 96%
Harrison (NC AR) 45.26 44.14 +1.12 103%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 52.42 48.10 +4.32 109%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 47.05 45.46 +1.59 103%
Little Rock (C AR) 52.78 49.75 +3.03 106%
West Memphis (EC AR) 54.47 52.23 +2.24 104%
Texarkana (SW AR) 45.34 49.65 -4.31 91%
El Dorado (SC AR) 47.49 52.92 -5.43 90%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 52.66 51.15 +1.51 103%
Note: The statewide average rainfall was 6.72 inches above normal. This made 2013 the 24th wettest year on record (since 1895).

 

A Quiet 2013 Nationwide
While there were seven (7) billion dollar events nationwide in 2013 (five severe weather events, a major flood event and a drought/heat wave in the west), there were some surprisingly quiet statistics. There were only 800 tornadoes or so, which is the lowest total since 1988 and well below the 1,200 to 1,300 tornadoes counted in a typical year. There were only 23 lightning fatalities, the fewest since 1940. There were only two hurricanes and no major hurricanes. The last time only two hurricanes occurred was 1982. The last season with no major hurricanes was 1994.

 

Heavy snow (up to ten inches) blanketed areas around Sturkie (Fulton County) early on 03/22/2013.

The first three months of 2013 featured a heavy rain event, an ice storm and heavy snow. However, severe storms were few, with only six tornadoes (mostly weak) counted.

In the picture: Heavy snow (up to ten inches) blanketed areas around Sturkie (Fulton County) early on 03/22/2013. The photo is courtesy of Mel Coleman. Click to enlarge.

 

 

The severe weather season got kick started briefly on April 10th. Four tornadoes (rated EF1/EF2) were spawned, with the most significant of these tracking through Van Buren County. Wind gusts reached 90 to 100 mph at Horseshoe Bend (Izard County), and this caused extensive structural damage.

A storm showed supercell (storm with rotating updrafts) characteristics, with a hook echo and possible tornado approaching Scotland (Van Buren County) from the south at 411 pm CDT on 04/10/2013.
In the picture: A storm showed supercell (storm with rotating updrafts) characteristics, with a hook echo and possible tornado approaching Scotland (Van Buren County) from the south at 411 pm CDT on 04/10/2013.

 

 

Storms didn't keep coming because the spring was just too cool. Adding up all of the numbers, it was the fifth coolest March through May (meteorological spring) on record (an average temperature of 57.3 degrees).

Spring highlights included much below normal temperatures in March (by 3 to 6 degrees). Freezes in April were the latest since 1960 at Booneville (Logan County), and since 1963 at Batesville Lock and Dam (Independence County) and Harrison (Boone County). In early May (on the 3rd/4th), light snow fell in the northwest counties. There had not been any snow in the state this late in spring. The previous latest snow was on April 30, 1903. All-time May cold temperature records were also broken.

 

Coolest Springs on Record in Arkansas
Year Avg. Temp
1960 56.5°
1931 56.7°
1924 57.0°
1983 57.0°
2013 57.3°
1993 57.5°
1947 57.6°
1958 57.7°
1971 57.8°

 

 

Up to this point, not only was severe weather absent in Arkansas, it was also quiet nationally. Across the country, the tornado count from May, 2012 through April, 2013 was the lowest on record since 1954. That all changed in late May, with numerous tornadoes spawned from the upper Midwest into the Plains.

 

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed strong rotation and a tornado heading into Moore, OK from the west at 321 pm CDT on 05/20/2013.
In the picture: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed strong rotation and a tornado heading into Moore, OK from the west at 321 pm CDT on 05/20/2013.
A debris ball quickly grew in the hook echo portion of the storm (where the tornado was located). This indicated that structures were being damaged/destroyed.
In the picture: A debris ball quickly grew in the hook echo portion of the storm (where the tornado was located). This indicated that structures were being damaged/destroyed. For a closer look (from southwest to northeast) at the vertical extent of the debris ball (more than 20,000 feet), click here.
 

One of the biggest events of the year happened on May 20th. A tornado widened rapidly just west of Moore, OK and tore through town. Neighborhoods were flattened and became unrecognizable. Winds swirling around the tornado (rated EF5) were estimated over 200 mph. At least 24 people were killed. It was perhaps the worst tornado disaster since the Joplin, MO tornado in May, 2011.

 

 

A tornado was witnessed near Oden (Montgomery County) during the afternoon of 05/30/2013.
In the picture: A tornado was witnessed near Oden (Montgomery County) during the afternoon of 05/30/2013. The photo is courtesy of Barbara Klutts. Click to enlarge.
A house (in the background) was washed off its foundation by water from Brushy Creek 3.8 miles west-northwest of Pencil Bluff (Montgomery County) on 05/30/2013.
In the picture: A house (in the background) was washed off its foundation by water from Brushy Creek 3.8 miles west-northwest of Pencil Bluff (Montgomery County) on 05/30/2013. Click to enlarge.
 

As May ended, there was an outbreak of severe weather locally. The central third of the state was affected by a total of 14 tornadoes on the 30th/31st, with a fatality at Tull (Grant County). There was another tornado in Madison County early on June 1st. Parts of Scott, Polk and Montgomery Counties received more than 10 inches of rain. Floods/flash floods claimed 6 lives.

 

 

There was enough rain through mid-June to stave off drought conditions in much of Arkansas. However, rain shut off late in the month and into July. Drought began spreading eastward through the area.

 

Thirty day rainfall and percent of normal rain ending at 700 am CDT on 08/14/2013.
In the pictures: Thirty day rainfall and percent of normal rain ending at 700 am CDT on 08/14/2013.

30 Day Rainfall   |   30 Day % Normal Rain
 

As the ground water supply dwindled, the sky opened. There were some ten to fifteen inch precipitation totals (and locally more) across the northern and western counties to finish July and begin August. Sites receiving this much rain included Harrison (Boone County), Mountain Home (Baxter County), Calico Rock (Izard County), Gilbert (Searcy County), Mena (Polk County), Waldron (Scott County) and Murfreesboro (Pike County). These amounts were 1st or 2nd highest all-time in the thirty day period ending at 700 am CDT on August 14th.

 

30 Day Rainfall (through 700 am CDT on August 14th)
Site Amount (Inches) Rank
Calico Rock (Izard Co.) 15.39 1
St. Paul (Madison Co.) 14.55 1
Waldron (Scott Co.) 14.36 1
Oden (Montgomery Co.) 13.66 2
Mena (Polk Co.) 13.57 2
Omaha (Boone Co.) 13.52 1
Langley (Pike Co.) 13.05 1
Gilbert (Searcy Co.) 12.78 1
Harrison (Boone Co.) 12.71 1
Berryville (Carroll Co.) 12.03 1
Mountain Home (Baxter Co.) 11.96 1
Jasper (Newton Co.) 11.75 1
Pocahontas (Randolph Co.) 11.62 1
Melbourne (Izard Co.) 11.46 2
Lead Hill (Boone Co.) 11.43 1
Searcy (White Co.) 11.32 2
Mammoth Spring (Fulton Co.) 11.22 1
Mountain View (Stone Co.) 11.01 1
Murfreesboro (Pike Co.) 10.78 2
Black Rock (Lawrence Co.) 10.45 1

 

Of course, this much rain resulted in some flooding in early August. On the 8th, Highway 7 at Harrison (Boone County) was under four feet of water on the west side of town. Highway 65 was blocked off due to flooding. Not far from Omaha (Boone County), Bear Creek rose 18 feet and covered Highway 14.

 

Link of Interest
Flooding on Highway 14 near Omaha (Boone County) courtesy of Lance Hardman

 

On the 10th, low water crossings near Pyatt (Marion County) had more than a foot of water over them. Some roads in Bergman (Boone County) looked more like rivers. A bridge near Pineville (Izard County) was seriously damaged, with two foot bridges washed away by an overflowing creek at a park in Calico Rock (Izard County).

 

Link of Interest
Flooded Road at Bergman (Boone County) courtesy of Melanie Shillings

 

A moderate (D1) to extreme (D3) drought was noted across southern Arkansas on 09/17/2013.
While the north/west got all of the rain, the southeast tallied less than two inches. This is where drought returned later in the summer/early fall, with the worst conditions in mid-September.
 
Drought Conditions (Percent Area)
Category Coverage
None 37.23%
D0-D4 62.77%
D1-D4 39.48%
D2-D4 29.13%
D3-D4 14.14%
D4 0%
In the picture: A moderate (D1) to extreme (D3) drought was noted across southern Arkansas on 09/17/2013.

 

More Information
 
There is more concerning the year 2013 in Arkansas. To check out the rest of the story, click here.

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