Climate Data
Yearly Reports
Interested in what kind of weather occurred in a recent year? Check out the most memorable events below.
 
Drought in 2011
 
A severe to exceptional drought was noted in southwest Arkansas on 11/01/2011. Drought conditions were noted in about the southeast half of Arkansas to finish 2010. Unfortunately, it remained dry across the south through much of 2011. By the end of October, rainfall at El Dorado (Union County) and Texarkana (Miller County) was close to eighteen inches below normal.
In the picture: A severe to exceptional drought was noted in southwest Arkansas on 11/01/2011.

 

Elsewhere, there were above normal totals north of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Precipitation surpluses were over six inches in the northwest. Two of the wetter months were April and May.

Percent of normal precipitation in April, 2011.
In the picture: Percent of normal precipitation in April, 2011.

 

Precipitation distribution (percent per month) in 2011.
In the picture: Precipitation distribution (percent per month) in 2011. April, May, November and December were the wettest months. January, June, July and October were the driest months.
 

At Fayetteville (Washington County) and Harrison (Boone County), more rain fell in this two month period than Texarkana (Miller County) all year through October! These sites got 26.78 and 24.24 inches respectively. It was far from wet thereafter.

 

A ridge of high pressure ("HIGH") was over Arkansas on 06/03/2011.
The drought was at its worst in the summer. A ridge of high pressure was persistent from June through August, and it was hot and dry.
In the picture: A ridge of high pressure ("HIGH") was over Arkansas on 06/03/2011. Clockwise flow around the high drove storm systems and fronts well to the north of the state...leaving the region hot and mostly dry.

 

It was a record hot summer in portions of the south and west. Afternoon temperatures hit at least 100 degrees 50 times at Texarkana (Miller County) and 48 times at Fort Smith (Sebastian County). There were record dry conditions in the southwest, with only 1.83 inches of rain in three months at Texarkana (Miller County).

Overall, the region experienced one of the top 5 hottest summers on record...and one of the top 5 driest in some spots.

 

One hundred twenty hour (five day) rainfall through 100 am CDT on 09/07/2011.
In the picture: One hundred twenty hour (five day) rainfall through 100 am CDT on 09/07/2011.
 

Rain stayed in the minus category across Arkansas in September and October. Abundant moisture from the tropics was not far way, but missed the state to the southeast. The remnants of Tropical Storm Lee produced flooding rain across the southeast United States, the Tennessee Valley and the central Appalachians in early September.

 

As Lee departed, much drier air followed. This combined with dry vegetation increased the wildfire danger from Arkansas into the southern Plains. Fires that started were fanned by breezy northerly winds.

Dewpoints dropped below 40 degrees F (very dry) from western Arkansas into the southern Plains at 200 pm CDT on 09/06/2011.
In the picture: Dewpoints dropped below 40 degrees F (very dry) from western Arkansas into the southern Plains at 200 pm CDT on 09/06/2011. Meanwhile, readings were in the 50s/60s (moist) along the Atlantic Coast surrounding the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.

 

There was a 140 acre wildfire just south of Alpine (Clark County) on 09/05/2011. While the fire was out a week later, there was still some smoldering noted.

At least 50 wildfires were triggered in Arkansas. Many of these were small, with less than 2,500 acres burned. One fire in Pike County consumed almost 500 acres. Several homes in the area were evacuated. In Texas, the most destructive fire in state history occurred at Bastrop (outside of Austin). Roughly 1,400 homes were destroyed.

In the picture: There was a 140 acre wildfire just south of Alpine (Clark County) on 09/05/2011. While the fire was out a week later, there was still some smoldering noted. Click to enlarge.

 

Conditions improved considerably toward the end of the year. Several fronts pushed into the state from the northwest before stalling in the mid-November to mid-December time frame. Moisture pooled around the fronts, and heavy to excessive rain developed. The pattern at 1200 am CST on 11/22/2011 featured a stalled boundary (front) across northern Arkansas.
In the picture: The pattern at 1200 am CST on 11/22/2011 featured a stalled boundary (front) across northern Arkansas. Along the boundary, warm/moist air was forced aloft by dense cool air (inset). Moisture condensed into clouds/rain as it cooled overhead along/north of the boundary.

 

 Thirty day rainfall through 600 am CST on 12/11/2011. More than a foot of rain was measured from Mena (Polk County) to Mount Ida (Montgomery County), Russellville (Pope County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Jonesboro (Craighead County) and West Memphis (Crittenden County).
In the picture: Thirty day rainfall through 600 am CST on 12/11/2011.

 

While the southwest got some of the rain, 2011 ended with a precipitation deficit of 18.96 inches at Texarkana (Miller). Just a two hour drive to the northeast along Interstate 30, Little Rock (Pulaski County) was 10.48 inches above normal. Drought conditions continued in only four southwest Arkansas counties, with the drought wiped out in the remainder of the region.

 

Precipitation Statistics (2010/2011)
Site 2011 +/- 2010 +/-
Fayetteville (NW AR) 56.15 +7.64 42.15 -3.87
Harrison (NC AR) 52.01 +7.87 46.12 +0.92
Jonesboro (NE AR) 58.05 +9.95 32.22 -13.96
Fort Smith (WC AR) 46.56 +1.10 35.27 -8.60
Little Rock (C AR) 60.23 +10.48 36.52 -14.41
West Memphis (EC AR) 55.95 +2.37 51.83 -0.97
Texarkana (SW AR) 30.69 -18.96 29.53 -17.85
El Dorado (SC AR) 37.62 -15.30 34.23 -19.88
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 48.70 -2.45 31.97 -20.51

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