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Are you interested in what happened during a recent event? Check out the report below.
 
April, 2014 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
April was a month of extremes. In northeast Arkansas, there was more than a foot of rain in places. There was a late freeze in the middle of the month. But a monster tornado (rated EF4) during the last week dominated headlines, with a forty mile swath of destruction and lives lost just north and west of Little Rock (Pulaski County).

 

Record Temperatures
 
There were quite a few record low temperatures in mid April, and one record high early in the month. Check out the record below.

 

Site Record Low (Date of Occurrence)
El Dorado 32T (04/16)
Fayetteville 23 (04/14)
Jacksonville 31 (04/15), 33T (04/16), 35 (04/17)
North Little Rock 39 (04/16)
Russellville 29T (04/15)
Stuttgart 37T (04/15), 39 (04/16)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Site Record High (Date of Occurrence)
Stuttgart 84T (04/03)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Cooler Than Normal/Wintry Precipitation/Not Much Severe Weather
 

Through March, there were no tornadoes in Arkansas in 2014. That was expected to change in early April. On the 3rd/4th, storms erupted toward the Missouri border during the evening. Hail bigger than baseballs (three inches in diameter) pelted Marshall (Searcy County) around 800 pm CDT. Tennis ball size hail was reported at Big Flat (Baxter County) and north of Wideman (Izard County). The storms showed signs of rotation at times, but no tornadoes were confirmed.

 

Thunderstorm gusts over 80 mph caused extensive damage at Fairview High School in Camden (Ouachita County) early on 04/04/2014.

After the hail was over in the north, bowing storms (with damaging straight-line winds) swept out of Texas into southern Arkansas after 1100 pm CDT. The storms produced gusts from 60 to greater than 80 mph from Camden (Ouachita County) and Fordyce (Dallas County) eastward through Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Warren (Bradley County), Star City (Lincoln County) and Monticello (Drew County).

In the picture: Thunderstorm gusts over 80 mph caused extensive damage at Fairview High School in Camden (Ouachita County) early on 04/04/2014. Click to enlarge.

 

Power was knocked out to at least 50,000 customers. At Sparkman (Dallas County), this led to a tragedy. Candles were blamed for a house fire that killed two children.

There was some structural damage noted. At Camden (Ouachita County), a high school was hit by 85 mph gusts (confirmed by a National Weather Service damage survey), with roofs peeled back from buildings. The stadium was also affected. Classes were called off on the 4th.

 

Link of Interest
Damage Photos (04/04/2014)

 

Northerly flow aloft brought very cold air over Arkansas at 500 mb (18,000 feet) at 700 pm CDT on 04/08/2014.
In the picture: Northerly flow aloft brought very cold air over Arkansas at 500 mb (18,000 feet) at 700 pm CDT on 04/08/2014. At North Little Rock (Pulaski County), the temperature at this height was -26 degrees C (-15 degrees F).
 

On the 8th, a large storm system penetrated toward the Gulf of Mexico from the north. Very cold air aloft was associated with the system. This cold air (15 degrees below zero F at 18,000 feet) moved over mild conditions near the ground (temperatures in the 50s/60s). The atmosphere destabilized quickly in the afternoon. Showers and thunderstorms went from isolated to numerous in a hurry. The difference in temperature from downstairs to upstairs created a lot of mixing, and this resulting in gusty winds.

Wind gusts surrounding a few storms exceeded 50 mph. At Arkadelphia (Clark County) and Hot Springs (Garland County), 54 mph gusts were measured. Trees were downed in both locations.

 

There was more wind on the 13th (associated with storms from Oklahoma), this time in the northwest half of the state. The first tornado (rated EF1) of the year in Arkansas tracked five miles between Vesta and Peter Pender (both in Franklin County).
The satellite showed a lot of clouds in Arkansas at 600 pm CDT on 04/13/2014.
In the picture: The satellite showed a lot of clouds in Arkansas at 600 pm CDT on 04/13/2014. From southeast Kansas into eastern Oklahoma, there were less clouds and more heating, and thunderstorms developed in a hurry.

 

Link of Interest
Damage Photos (04/13/2014)

 

Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on the 14th exceeded two inches along and just north of the Interstate 30 corridor from southwest into central Arkansas. This included De Queen (Sevier County), Hot Springs (Garland County), Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Mount Ida (Montgomery County).

In the Little Rock (Pulaski County) area, much of the rain dumped in less than three hours. Flash flooding was reported, with several instances of people rescued from vehicles stranded in high water.

Much cooler air followed the rain. By the morning of the 15th, a freeze occurred in the north/west. Low temperatures were in the 20s to lower 30s. 

By 700 am CDT on the 15th, the mercury at Fayetteville (Washington County) and Mammoth Spring (Fulton County) dipped to 23 degrees, with 25 degrees at Lead Hill (Boone County), 26 degrees at Gilbert (Searcy County) and Highfill (Benton County), and 28 degrees at Calico Rock (Izard County), Harrison (Boone County), Mena (Polk County), Mountain Home (Baxter County) and Waldron (Scott County).

 

Low Temperatures/Average Last Freeze Dates
Site Lows (04/15) Average Last Freeze
Fayetteville (NW AR) 23° Apr 8
Harrison (NC AR) 28° Apr 4
Jonesboro (NE AR) 34° Apr 2
Fort Smith (WC AR) 32° Mar 30
Little Rock (C AR) 34° Mar 20
West Memphis (EC AR) 35° Mar 26
Texarkana (SW AR) 34° Mar 31
El Dorado (SC AR) 33° Mar 28
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 35° Mar 17
Note: The freeze dates shown are based on climatological normals, with a temperature of 32° for a freeze. There is at least a 50 percent probability that a last freeze will occur on these dates. Probabilities go up to 90 percent two weeks prior and down to 10 percent two weeks later. The dates are courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center.

 

On the 24th, there was a lot more lightning than rain. Between 1200 pm and 800 pm CDT, there were 11,700 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in the state. Six workers were injured by lightning at a gas well drilling site just southwest of Enders (Faulkner County).

 

A wedge tornado was witnessed at Vilonia (Faulkner County) during the evening of 04/27/2014.
In the picture: A wedge tornado was witnessed at Vilonia (Faulkner County) during the evening of 04/27/2014. The photo is courtesy of Barbara Mullins via Twitter.
 

The biggest event in April by far was on the 27th. There were five tornadoes spawned by one storm. The most destructive of these tracked 41 miles through Mayflower and Vilonia (both in Faulkner County) before dissipating near El Paso (White County). The tornado was given a rating of EF4 (166-200 mph winds).

 

Everything was torn up by tornado (rated EF4) along Highway 365 in Mayflower (Faulkner County) on 04/27/2014.

Along the way, houses and businesses were heavily damaged or reduced to rubble. An estimated 400 to 500 homes were destroyed. There were 16 fatalities reported (12 in Faulkner County, 3 in Pulaski County and 1 in White County), which makes this the deadliest single tornado in Arkansas since the Jonesboro (Craighead County) twister (rated EF4) of May 15, 1968 (35 fatalities).

In the picture: Everything was torn up by tornado (rated EF4) along Highway 365 in Mayflower (Faulkner County) on 04/27/2014. Click to enlarge.

 

Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 04/28/2014.
In the picture: Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 04/28/2014.
 

The other significant part of this story was the rain. There was a lot of it in northeast Arkansas. Locally more than five inches of water was measured in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 am CDT on the 28th. This included a whopping 7.60 inches at Batesville Lock and Dam (Independence County) and Beedeville (Jackson County), 6.10 inches at Calamine (Sharp County), 6.03 inches at Corning (Clay County), 5.34 inches at Evening Shade (Sharp County), 5.30 inches at Ravenden Springs (Randolph County), 5.20 inches at Pocahontas (Randolph County) and 5.05 inches at Melbourne (Izard County).

This much rain caused extensive flash flooding, with numerous roads under water. There was a mudslide on Highway 25 southwest of Desha (Independence County). A bridge was submerged (likely by a creek) along Highway 25 between Batesville and Moorefield (Independence County). Highway 69 was flooded at Mount Pleasant (Izard County).

The 7.60 inches at Batesville Lock and Dam (Independence County) was the most for one day since records were established in 1904. This pushed the monthly total to 12.33 inches, making it the third wettest April locally. It was also the third wettest April at Corning (Clay County), with 11.00 inches reported. 

 

Precipitation in April, 2014
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 3.03 4.57 -1.54 66%
Harrison (NC AR) 4.55 4.32 +0.23 105%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 6.98 5.02 +1.96 139%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 2.94 4.30 -1.36 68%
Little Rock (C AR) 4.95 5.14 -0.19 96%
West Memphis (EC AR) 5.52 5.38 +0.14 103%
Texarkana (SW AR) 3.12 3.94 -0.82 79%
El Dorado (SC AR) 5.64 4.09 +1.55 138%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 5.23 4.93 +0.30 106%

 

The rain missed much of the west. Monthly precipitation finished in the minus category by a half inch to more than an inch and a half at Fayetteville (Washington County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and Texarkana (Miller County).

 

Links of Interest
April 2-4, 2014 (severe storms)
April 8, 2014 (very cold aloft)
April 13-15, 2014 (severe storms/heavy rain/freeze)
April 24, 2014 (severe storms)
April 27-28, 2014 (tornadoes/flooding)

 

Additional April Details
 
For more details about April, 2014...go to the "Temperatures and Precipitation" section below.

 

Temperatures and Precipitation
Temperatures were at or a little below normal in April. Readings at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to right. April, 2014 Temperatures in North Little Rock

 

April, 2014 Precipitation in North Little Rock Precipitation was generally at or above normal in central and eastern Arkansas (well above normal in the northeast), and below normal in the west. Amounts at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) are shown to left.

 

To right, a look at precipitation across the state. April, 2014 Precipitation in Arkansas

 

For a look at actual temperatures and precipitation in Arkansas as measured by the cooperative observer network, click here.

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