Monthly Storm Reports and Storm Data
Storm Reports
Are you interested in what happened during a recent event? Check out the report below.
 
May, 2013 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
May was a month to remember, with historic cold during the first few days, and over a dozen tornadoes and disastrous flash flooding at the end. There were also tragic headliners in the Plains, including a deadly tornado (rated EF5) at Moore, OK.

 

Record Temperatures
 
There were numerous record low temperatures on the 3rd through the 5th, with one record high on the 14th. Check out the records below.

 

Site Record Low (Date of Occurrence)
Batesville 37 (05/04)
El Dorado 36 (05/04), 37 (05/05)
Fayetteville 31 (05/05)
Fort Smith 37T (05/03), 39 (05/05)
Hot Springs 39 (05/03), 36 (05/04), 37 (05/05)
Jacksonville 38 (05/03), 36 (05/04), 41 (05/05)
Jonesboro 35 (05/04)
Little Rock 38 (05/03), 38 (05/04), 42 (05/05)
Monticello 40 (05/03), 38 (05/04)
North Little Rock 39 (05/03), 40 (05/04), 40 (05/05)
Russellville 35 (04/25)
Stuttgart 41 (05/03), 37 (05/04), 43 (05/05)
Texarkana 40 (05/05)

 

Site Record High (Date of Occurrence)
Batesville 90T (05/14)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Historic Cold Early/Severe Weather Outbreak Late
 
A cold front was nearing Arkansas from the Plains at 100 pm CDT on 05/01/2013. Heading into early May, cold fronts continued barreling into Arkansas from the north. This included a front on the 2nd, with much cooler air from Canada to follow.
In the picture: A cold front was nearing Arkansas from the Plains at 100 pm CDT on 05/01/2013.

 

By dawn on the 3rd, temperatures in the northwest counties dropped into the lower/mid 30s. Rain changed to snow, and several inches accumulated in spots. One to three inches of snow was common in portions of Benton, Boone, Carroll, Madison, Newton and Washington Counties. Locally up to 5 inches piled up near Decatur, with 3 to 4 inches at Gentry, Gravette and Siloam Springs (all in Benton County).

 

According to official records, there had not been any snow across Arkansas this late in the spring until this event. The previous latest snow was on April 30, 1903.

 Roughly four inches of snow piled up around Gravette (Benton County) on 05/03/13.
In the picture: Roughly four inches of snow piled up around Gravette (Benton County) on 05/03/13. The photo is courtesy of Drew Michaels. Click to enlarge.

 

There was a little more snow in the northwest early on the 4th as a big storm system aloft wobbled into the area from the Plains. Moisture was limited by this time, but cold air overhead surrounding the system helped support snow (rather than rain). A few spots got over an inch of powder, with most reports under a half inch.

All-time May temperature records fell during this event. At Harrison (Boone County), the high temperature on the 3rd was only 38 degrees. This was the coldest May maximum since records began in 1891. Similar records were snapped at Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and Russellville (Pope County), with a high of only 52 degrees at both sites (records go back to 1883 and 1882 respectively). On the 4th, the cold high record at Hardy (Sharp) which was set in 1899 was shattered by more than ten degrees.

 

Record Coldest High Temperatures (May 3-5, 2013)
Site Temp/Date Prev. Record Date of Prev. Record Records Since
Booneville (Logan Co.)* 46° (05/05) 50° 05/03/2011 1906
Conway (Faulkner Co.)* 39° (05/04) 49° 05/02/2011 1884
Hardy (Sharp Co.)* 40° (05/04) 50° 05/24/1899 1897
Harrison (Boone Co.) 38° (05/03) 45° 05/02/2011 1891
Mountain Home 1NNW (Baxter Co.)* 38° (05/04) 49° 05/03/2011 1902
Pine Bluff (Jefferson Co.) 52° (05/03) 56° 05/02/2011 1883
Russellville (Pope Co.) 52° (05/03) 53° 05/02/2011 1882
* - These stations report at the end of the 24-hour period ending at 7 or 8 am. The high temperatures shown occurred on the previous day. The remaining stations report midnight to midnight, with the highs occurring on the dates indicated.

 

At Little Rock (Pulaski County), 39 degrees was the standing record low temperature for the month set on the 1st in 1903. That was broken on the 3rd and 4th with a low of 38 degrees (records began in 1879).

 

 

Early on the 10th, a flash flood event unfolded in northwest Arkansas. Six hour rainfall ending at 100 am CDT on the 10th included a whopping 4.71 inches at Bentonville, 4.21 inches at Highfill and 2.53 inches at Rogers (all in Benton County). This much rain caused flash flooding. Numerous roads were closed in Bentonville (Benton County), and water ran into at least a couple of homes.

In mid-May, tornadoes started to become commonplace in the southern Plains. On the 15th, there was an outbreak of tornadoes and up to grapefruit size hail in parts of northern Texas during the late afternoon and evening. At least eighteen tornadoes were counted. The strongest of these (rated EF4) ripped through a subdivision on the east side of Granbury, TX. Six people lost their lives.

 

 

In the wee hours of the 17th, there was more heavy rain locally. Just south of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), there was a report of 6.62 inches of rain received via CoCoRaHS. Between Sulphur Springs and Pinebergen (both in Jefferson County), water flowed into at least two homes, with several roads flooded.

 

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.
 

On the 18th/19th, powerful tornadoes (rated EF4) swept through rural Rozel, KS and the north side of Shawnee, OK. The latter tornado caused 2 deaths. On the 20th, the biggest tornado of them all 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.

 

 

Toward dark on the 20th, there was at least some fear of similar tornadoes closer to home. While storms tended to weaken as they headed into northwest Arkansas, there were still three small (rated EF1) tornadoes identified. These were in Washington and Benton Counties. 

 

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.
 

On the 30th/31st, a nightmare scenario played out. The central third of the state was affected by a total of 14 tornadoes, with a fatality at Tull (Grant County). There, a tree fell on a moving car. Parts of Scott, Polk and Montgomery Counties received more than 10 inches of rain. Floods/flash floods claimed 6 lives.

 

Percent of normal precipitation in May, 2013.

Excessive rain led to above normal totals across the central third of Arkansas. Surplus rain also fell in much of the northeast and parts of the northwest.

In the picture: Percent of normal precipitation in May, 2013.

 

Jonesboro (Craighead County) had more the double (213%) the normal rain. Amounts were in excess of two inches on the plus side at Fayetteville (Washington County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and West Memphis (Crittenden County).

 

Precipitation in May, 2013
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 8.24 6.04 +2.20 136%
Harrison (NC AR) 4.78 4.69 +0.09 102%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 9.81 4.61 +5.20 213%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 5.40 5.47 -0.07 99%
Little Rock (C AR) 7.16 4.87 +2.29 147%
West Memphis (EC AR) 9.12 5.24 +3.88 174%
Texarkana (SW AR) 2.76 5.09 -2.33 54%
El Dorado (SC AR) 3.06 5.05 +1.99 61%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 7.17 5.05 +2.12 142%

 

Over the southern counties, rainfall was mostly subpar. Texarkana (Miller) was over two inches on the minus side in May, and just over seven inches below normal for the year.

 

Links of Interest
May 3-4, 2013 (historic cold spell)
May 9-10, 2013 (severe weather/heavy rain)
May 15-17, 2013 (wet weather)
May 20-21, 2013 (severe weather/heavy rain)
May 30-31, 2013 (tornadoes/flash flooding)

 

Additional May Details
 
For more details about May, 2013...go to the "Temperatures and Precipitation" section below.

 

Temperatures and Precipitation
Temperatures were below normal in May. Readings at North Little Rock are shown to right. May, 2013 Temperatures in North Little Rock

 

May, 2013 Precipitation in North Little Rock Rainfall was at/above normal in most areas. Below normal totals were most noted in the south.

 

To right, a look at precipitation across the state. May, 2013 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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