NOUS44 KLZK 290228
PNSLIT

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LITTLE ROCK AR 
ISSUED ON DECEMBER 28, 2000 

...AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF ICE STORMS IN ARKANSAS...

WINTER STORMS...STORM SYSTEMS THAT PRODUCE MOSTLY SNOW...SLEET...OR
FREEZING RAIN...ARE NOT AS COMMON IN ARKANSAS AS IN MANY AREAS OF THE
NORTHERN OR EASTERN U.S.  IN MOST OF ARKANSAS...NORMAL SNOWFALL FOR AN
ENTIRE WINTER SEASON IS LESS THAN 10 INCHES. MOST OF SOUTHERN ARKANSAS HAS
A NORMAL ANNUAL SNOWFALL UNDER 5 INCHES.

HOWEVER...WINTER STORMS DO OCCUR IN ARKANSAS OCCASIONALLY AND LARGE AMOUNTS
OF SNOW OR ICE CAN ACCUMULATE IN THE STATE. THE HILLY AREAS OF NORTHWESTERN
ARKANSAS GET HIT WITH HEAVY SNOW OR ICE MUCH MORE OFTEN THAN OTHER AREAS OF
THE STATE...BUT ALL AREAS OF ARKANSAS HAVE EXPERIENCED A SNOWFALL OF 10
INCHES OR MORE AND ALL AREAS HAVE HAD DAMAGING ICE ACCUMULATIONS. THE LATTER
WAS ESPECIALLY THE CASE DURING DECEMBER 2000.

BELOW ARE LISTED SOME OF THE MORE SIGNIFICANT ICE STORMS THAT HAVE AFFECTED 
ARKANSAS... 

NOVEMBER 27 1839...A SEVERE ICE STORM AT LITTLE ROCK. FREEZING RAIN
     APPARENTLY FELL WITH A TEMPERATURE OF 8 DEGREES.

DECEMBER 18-20 1897...A GENERAL SLEET STORM OCCURRED IN THE STATE
    WITH HEAVY DAMAGE...ESPECIALLY IN THE SOUTH.

MARCH 22 1898...ICE STORM IN NORTHWESTERN ARKANSAS AFTER TEMPERATURES
    IN THE 80S THE PREVIOUS DAY.

DECEMBER 10-14 1932...FIVE DAY PERIOD OF ICE MOSTLY IN THE EAST AND
    SOUTH...SNOW IN THE NORTHWEST. THIS MAY BE THE LAST ICE STORM IN
    THE STATE AS WIDESPREAD AND DAMAGING AS THE ICE STORMS OF DECEMBER
    2000.  

JANUARY 4 1950...ICE STORM ENVELOPS NORTHERN ARKANSAS AS AN ARCTIC
    COLD FRONT DROPS TEMPERATURES FROM THE 60S INTO THE 20S.

FEBRUARY 1 1950...SEVERE ICE STORM ACROSS NORTHERN ARKANSAS.

JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY 1 1951...ONE OF THE WORST AND MOST WIDESPREAD ICE
    STORMS EVER THROUGH THE CENTRAL U.S. NORTHERN ARKANSAS COVERED
    WITH HEAVY ICE...UP TO 7 INCHES OF SNOW IN THE SOUTH.

FEBRUARY 13-15 1951...THREE DAY LONG ICE STORM ACROSS NORTHERN ARKANSAS
    ABOUT TWO WEEKS AFTER THE PREVIOUS ICE STORM. THESE STORMS HOWEVER
    MAINLY AFFECTED ONLY THE NORTHERN PART OF THE STATE. 

JANUARY 27 1957...SIGNIFICANT ICE STORM IN NORTHEASTERN ARKANSAS.

MARCH 15 1960...ICE STORM IN NORTHWESTERN ARKANSAS.

JANUARY 2 1974...ICE STORM ACROSS SOUTHERN ARKANSAS...LIGHT SNOW IN THE
    NORTH.

JANUARY 1 1979...STATEWIDE ICE STORM WITH THE MOST ICE IN THE NORTHWEST.
    TRAVEL WAS VERY DIFFICULT AND THERE WERE MANY POWER OUTAGES...BUT
    THE DAMAGE DID NOT COMPARE TO THE ICE STORMS OF DECEMBER, 2000.   

JANUARY 6-7 1979...ANOTHER STATEWIDE ICE STORM...THE SECOND IN LESS THAN A
    WEEK. THIS TIME THE MOST ICE WAS IN THE SOUTHEAST. AMOUNTS AND DAMAGE 
    STILL PALED IN COMPARISON TO THE DECEMBER 2000 STORMS.  

DECEMBER 21 1983...MAJOR ICE STORM WITH UP TO 2 INCHES OF FREEZING RAIN
    IN CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN SECTIONS...HEAVY DAMAGE TO THE LUMBER INDUSTRY.
    DAMAGE WAS MUCH MORE EXTENSIVE...BUT IT WAS CONFINED MAINLY TO THE SOUTHERN
    ONE HALF OF THE STATE.  

MARCH 4 1989...ICE IN CENTRAL AND NORTHERN ARKANSAS DAMAGED MANY CHICKEN
    HOUSES. MOST OF THE DAMAGE AND LOST POWER WAS IN THE NORTHWESTERN PART OF
    THE STATE. 

DECEMBER 22 1990...COMBINATION OF FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET ALONG WITH SOME
    SNOW LEFT A HEAVY ICE LAYER IN MANY AREAS THAT LASTED THROUGH
    CHRISTMAS. THIS ICE STORM MOST AFFECTED AREAS ROUGHLY ALONG INTERSTATE 30
    FROM ARKADELPHIA THROUGH LITTLE ROCK THEN UP THE U.S. 67 CORRIDOR TOWARD
    WHITE COUNTY.  

FEBRUARY 9-11 1994...SEVERE ICE STORM IN MUCH OF STATE...ESPECIALLY IN
    SOUTHERN AND EASTERN ARKANSAS. THERE WERE SEVERAL PERIODS OF FREEZING
    RAIN AND SLEET ACROSS THE SOUTHEASTERN HALF OF ARKANSAS. AP&L HAD MOST
    SIGNIFICANT STORM DAMAGE TO POWER LINES IN ITS HISTORY UP UNTIL THEN. 
    SOME AREAS WERE WITHOUT POWER FOR A WEEK OR LONGER.

JANUARY 1 1999...FREEZING RAIN CONTINUED FOR A NUMBER OF HOURS ACROSS CENTRAL
    AND NORTHERN ARKANSAS. MANY POWER OUTAGES OCCURRED IN THE LITTLE ROCK AREA
    AND THERE WAS SIGNIFICANT TREE DAMAGE IN NORTHERN ARKANSAS. THIS STORM WAS
    CONFINED MAINLY TO THE NORTHERN ONE HALF OF THE STATE. A WEAKER ICE STORM 
    OCCURRED NINE DAYS EARLIER...MOSTLY ON DECEMBER 23 1998 BUT THAT ONE DID
    NOT CAUSE SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE. ANOTHER MINOR FREEZING RAIN EVENT  
    OCCURRED MOSTLY IN NORTHERN ARKANSAS A WEEK LATER...ON JANUARY   
    7-8 1999. 

DECEMBER 12-13 2000...STATEWIDE MAJOR ICE STORM WITH OVER ONE INCH OF ICE
    ACCUMULATION IN MOST AREAS OF THE STATE. THE LITTLE ROCK         
    METROPOLITAN AREA AND PINE BLUFF WERE HARDEST HIT WITH TREE      
    DAMAGE AND POWER FAILURES. ABOUT 300,000 HOMES AND               
    BUSINESSES LOST ELECTRIC POWER AND MANY AREAS WERE WITHOUT       
    ELECTRICITY FOR A WEEK. LIKELY THE MOST DAMAGING ICE STORM IN    
    ARKANSAS UP TO THAT TIME. TEMPERATURES FOR MOST OF THIS EVENT    
    WERE JUST BELOW FREEZING...SO MANY ROADWAYS DID NOT ICE UP MUCH  
    AND TRAVEL WAS POSSIBLE...ALTHOUGH SLOW.  

DECEMBER 25-27 2000...A SECOND MAJOR STATEWIDE ICE STORM IN TWO WEEKS. MOST 
    OF THE STATE AGAIN GOT AT LEAST ONE INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION.    
    MANY AREAS WERE WELL BELOW FREEZING WHEN THE FREEZING            
    PRECIPITATION STARTED AND ROADWAYS ICED UP SOLIDLY. TRAVEL       
    WAS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT THE NIGHT OF THE 25TH AND FOR MOST OF    
    THE 26TH UNTIL TEMPERATURES ROSE CLOSER TO THE FREEZING MARK.    
    SOUTHERN AND WEST CENTRAL ARKANSAS WERE THE HARDEST HIT WITH     
    POWER FAILURES. EL DORADO AND HOT SPRINGS WERE ESPECIALLY HARD   
    HIT THIS TIME WITH POWER FAILURES AND THE LITTLE ROCK            
    METROPOLITAN AREA HAD ABOUT AS MANY POWER FAILURES AS THE ICE    
    STORM TWO WEEKS EARLIER. THE TOTAL NUMBER OF POWER FAILURES      
    STATEWIDE WAS ABOUT EQUAL TO THE ICE STORM TWO WEEKS EARLIER. 

FROM THE LIMITED DATA AVAILABLE ABOUT ICE STORMS IN ARKANSAS...IT APPEARS 
THAT THE TWO STATEWIDE ICE STORMS OF DECEMBER 2000 HAVE BEEN THE MOST WIDESPREAD 
AND DAMAGING ICE STORMS IN RECORDED STATE HISTORY...WHICH DATES TO 1819. IT LOOKS 
CERTAIN THAT THE DAMAGE TO POWER LINES AND LUMBER IN THE STATE WILL BE OF ALL-TIME 
RECORD PROPORTIONS. BASED ON THE GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATOLOGY OF THE AREA...CHANCES 
ARE TWO ICE STORMS THIS CLOSE TOGETHER OF THIS MAGNITUDE LIKELY HAVE OCCURRED IN 
THE STATE BEFORE...BUT THERE IS NO DOCUMENTATION OF IT. ANY PRECEDENT TO THIS MAY 
WELL HAVE OCCURRED BEFORE MODERN RECORDED HISTORY FOR ARKANSAS BEGAN IN 
1819.

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