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 A Not So Hot Summer/Looking Ahead
 

Arkansas experienced a mild summer (June/July/August), including a record cool July as determined by the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC. Summer readings were generally one to more than two degrees in the minus category. Days with 95 degree temperatures or higher were well below normal.

 

 

Average Temperatures in June/July/August, 2014
Site Avg Temp +/-
Fayetteville (NW AR) 74.3° -1.6°
Harrison (NC AR) 75.0° -1.6°
Jonesboro (NE AR) 77.9° -1.6°
Fort Smith (WC AR) 79.8° -0.9°
Little Rock (C AR) 79.4° -2.1°
West Memphis (EC AR) 78.0° -1.8°
Texarkana (SW AR) 79.5° -1.4°
El Dorado (SC AR) 78.3° -2.1°
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 78.2° -2.5°

 

95 Degree Days in June/July/August
Site 2014 Avg 2000-2013
Fayetteville (NW AR) 2 15
Harrison (NC AR) 2 14
Jonesboro (NE AR) 7 24
Fort Smith (WC AR) 15 37
Little Rock (C AR) 8 30
West Memphis (EC AR) 2 18
Texarkana (SW AR) 13 40
El Dorado (SC AR) 6 35
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 4 26

 

A field was turned into a lake at McCrory (Woodruff County) on 06/29/2014.
Before Rain   |  After Rain
In the pictures: A field was turned into a lake at McCrory (Woodruff County) on 06/29/2014. The photos are courtesy of LeAnne Gaddy via Twitter.
 

There was plenty of rain in parts of the region, and too much precipitation east of Little Rock (Pulaski County). June finished with more than a foot of rain in places, including 12.08 inches at West Memphis (Crittenden County). It was the wettest June on record at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Searcy (White County), with 7.58 inches and 10.25 inches respectively.

 

Where disaster declarations were issued following a flood event on 06/29/2014. A huge deluge early on June 29th was responsible for much of the water. Flood disaster declarations were made in ten counties. This included Cross, Independence, Jackson, Lee, Lonoke, Monroe, Prairie, St. Francis, White and Woodruff Counties.
In the picture: Where disaster declarations were issued following a flood event on 06/29/2014.

 

Umbrellas were not needed as often in the northwest and also parts of the south. Less than 80 percent normal rainfall was measured at El Dorado (Union County), Fayetteville (Washington County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) in June/July.

 

Precipitation in June/July/August, 2014
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 8.61 11.68 -3.07 74%
Harrison (NC AR) 11.37 10.96 +0.41 104%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 12.40 9.83 +2.57 126%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 8.71 10.17 -1.46 86%
Little Rock (C AR) 14.70 9.51 +5.19 155%
West Memphis (EC AR) 14.73 10.62 +4.11 139%
Texarkana (SW AR) 10.04 10.80 -0.76 93%
El Dorado (SC AR) 8.27 11.57 -3.30 71%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 7.64 9.99 -2.35 76%

 

Percent of normal rainfall in June/July/August, 2014.
In the picture: Percent of normal rainfall in June/July/August, 2014.

 

Drought outlook through November, 2014.
In the picture: Drought outlook through November, 2014.
 

For the year, precipitation was more than four inches in the minus category over parts of the west through July. This included El Dorado (Union County), Fayetteville (Washington County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and Texarkana (Miller County). The going forecast calls for drought to not become much of an issue across the state through the end of November.

 

Precipitation in 2014 (Through August)
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 23.13 31.89 -8.76 73%
Harrison (NC AR) 26.68 28.96 -2.28 92%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 33.68 31.11 +2.57 108%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 23.45 29.36 -5.91 80%
Little Rock (C AR) 37.13 31.41 +5.72 118%
West Memphis (EC AR) 38.98 34.81 +4.17 112%
Texarkana (SW AR) 24.93 31.42 -6.49 79%
El Dorado (SC AR) 30.12 34.55 -4.43 87%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 29.91 33.19 -3.28 90%

 

ENSO (El Niño-La Niña Southern Oscillation) forecast for the remainder of 2014/early 2015 (made in mid July).
In the picture: ENSO (El Niño-La Niña Southern Oscillation) forecast for the remainder of 2014/early 2015 (made in mid July). It appears that neutral conditions will slowly transition to at least a weak El Niño by the late summer/early fall.
 

At least a weak El Niño (warmer than normal water in the equatorial Pacific Ocean) is expected to materialize in the coming months. Climate data from past transitions to El Niño supported a fairly tame summer. The summer forecast did not include long stretches of sweltering heat and bone dry conditions. That forecast worked out. What about the fall?

In nine of the fourteen transitions to El Niño (dating back to the early 1950s), temperatures were below normal during fall (September through November). In three instances, readings were over two degrees subpar. There was above normal precipitation ten times, and surpluses exceeded five inches three times.

 

Fall in Arkansas (Transitioning to El Niño)
Year Avg Temp +/- Precipitation +/-
2009 60.8° -0.7° 24.47 (H) +13.13 (H)
2006 60.4° -1.1° 13.73 +2.39
2004 64.3° +2.8° 17.56 +6.22
2002 61.3° -0.2° 9.50 -1.84
1997 60.4° -1.1° 10.89 -0.45
1994 62.3° +0.8° 13.22 +1.88
1991 60.4° -1.1° 15.83 +4.49
1986 61.8° +0.3° 14.36 +3.02
1982 60.7° -0.8° 12.20 +0.86
1968 59.2° (L) -2.3° (L) 14.47 +3.13
1965 62.9° +1.4° 9.98 -1.36
1963 64.4° (H) +2.9° (H) 5.99 (L) -5.35 (L)
1957 59.1° -2.4° 18.57 +7.23
1951 59.5° -2.0° 13.94 +2.60
Note: (H) is a maximum value and (L) is a minimum value.

 

It could get rather active after an overall quiet spring (with only nine tornadoes spawned through July). That is what happened the last two El Niño appearances.

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed strong rotation and a possible tornado approaching areas between Camden (Ouachita County) and Locust Bayou (Calhoun County) at 328 pm CDT on 10/29/2009.
In the picture: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed strong rotation and a possible tornado approaching areas between Camden (Ouachita County) and Locust Bayou (Calhoun County) at 328 pm CDT on 10/29/2009.

 

In 2009, fifteen tornadoes were counted in mainly southern Arkansas on October 29th. Another five tornadoes hit areas toward the Missouri border on September 22nd, 2006. Both events featured widespread serious flooding.

 

Temperature and precipitation forecasts for Fall, 2014 (September through November).
Temperature   |  Precipitation
In the pictures: Temperature and precipitation forecasts for Fall, 2014 (September through November). "A" is above normal, "B" is below normal, and "EC" is equal chances of above, near or below normal. The forecasts are courtesy of the Climate Prediction Center.
 

The fall forecast from the Climate Prediction Center calls for above normal precipitation and equal chances of above, below or near normal temperatures in Arkansas.

When El Niño becomes established, the tropics often slow down. More shear is in play over the Atlantic basin, with winds aloft disrupting storm development. Heading into early August, there had only been two named storms (Arthur and Bertha).

 

 

The odds favor 2014 finishing wet, such as in 2009 (but maybe not quite as extreme). There was an ongoing La Niña and not much precipitation through the first four months followed by an emerging El Niño and record rainfall from July on.

 

Precipitation During El Niño Years in Arkansas
Year Amount (+/-) +/-
2009 72.20 (H) +22.60 (H)
2006 49.33 -0.27
2004 57.01 +7.41
2002 52.82 +3.22
1997 51.93 +2.33
1994 54.39 +4.79
1991 61.52 +11.92
1986 46.39 -3.21
1982 57.80 +8.20
1968 58.33 +8.73
1965 43.94 -5.66
1963 32.80 (L) -16.80 (L)
1957 71.78 +22.18
1951 52.66 +3.06
Note: (H) is a maximum value and (L) is a minimum value.

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