Climate Data
Yearly Reports
Interested in what kind of weather occurred in a recent year? Check out the most memorable events below.
 
Heavy Rain/Severe Weather on March 19-22, 2012
 
A storm system ("L") approaching from the west encountered a ridge of high pressure over the southeast United States in the seventy two hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 03/22/2012.
A significant heavy rain event unfolded on March 19th, and continued through the 21st. A slow moving storm system in the southern Plains was responsible for the prolonged period of precipitation.
In the picture: A storm system ("L") approaching from the west encountered a ridge of high pressure over the southeast United States in the seventy two hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 03/22/2012. The high grinded the system to a halt. The main flow aloft was well to the north, and had difficulty carrying the system away.

 

Abundant moisture surrounding the system made showers and thunderstorms more efficient rainmakers.

The most significant moisture (along an axis) was slow to advance to the east in the seventy two hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 03/22/2012.
In the picture: The most significant moisture (along an axis) was slow to advance to the east in the seventy two hour period ending at 700 am CDT on 03/22/2012. Precipitable water, or water vapor contained in a vertical column of at atmosphere, ranged from 1.00" to 1.50". Values are normally between .50" and .75" heading into late March.

 

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed showers and thunderstorms and areas of heavy rain in the western half of Arkansas at 328 pm CDT on 03/20/2012.

Before a large swath of rain drifted into the region, there were widespread totals from three to five inches and locally over six inches in eastern Oklahoma and northeast Texas. By the morning of the 21st, amounts were similar in central and western Arkansas.

In the picture: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed showers and thunderstorms and areas of heavy rain in the western half of Arkansas at 328 pm CDT on 03/20/2012. Isolated severe storms were possible along the eastern edge of the precipitation.

 

Keys to Flooding
(1) A slow moving system from the west triggered precipitation.
(2) A ridge of high pressure to the east held the system in place for a few days to prolong precipitation.
(3) Above normal moisture levels created more water to wring out of the atmosphere. This elevated the likelihood of heavy to excessive rain.

 

Forty eight hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 03/21/2012.
In the picture: Forty eight hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on 03/21/2012.
 

Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on the 21st included 6.20 inches at Norfork (Baxter County), 6.10 inches at Mountain Home (Baxter County), 5.88 inches near Damascus (Van Buren County), 5.47 inches just northeast of Maumelle (Pulaski County), 4.45 inches at Sheridan (Grant County) and 4.35 inches at Calico Rock (Izard County).

At Gassville (Baxter County), creeks were out of their banks and water covered several county roads. There was extensive flooding along Sylamore Creek around Allison (Stone County), with people evacuated safely from a campground. Several families were driven from their homes by high water at Greenbrier (Faulkner County). Toward Mablevale (Pulaski County), water flowed into homes and garages along Stagecoach Drive. White Oak Bayou was out of its banks in the Marche (Pulaski County) community. Nearby roads were closed due to high water.

 

Twenty Four Hour Rainfall (through 700 am CDT on 03/21/2012)
Site Amount (Inches)
Norfork (Baxter Co) 6.20
Mountain Home (Baxter Co) 6.10
Damascus (Van Buren Co) 5.88
Maumelle (Pulaski Co) 5.47
Clarkridge (Baxter Co) 4.90
Sherwood (Pulaski Co) 4.76
Sheridan (Grant Co) 4.45
Crystal Valley (Pulaski Co) 4.42
North Little Rock (Pulaski Co) 4.38
Calico Rock (Izard Co) 4.35
Ivan (Dallas Co) 4.35
Camden (Ouachita Co) 4.33
Conway (Faulkner Co) 4.27
Little Rock (Pulaski Co) 4.25
Moro Bay (Bradley Co) 4.10
Mountain View (Stone Co) 4.07

 

Runoff from all of the rain went into area rivers, and there was minor flooding. The upper White River was impacted by several inches of rain, and this came downstream to affect the lower White River. The Cache River was already running high, so more water kept levels up. Tributaries in the Arkansas and Ouachita River basins were also affected, including (but not limited to) portions of the Petit Jean, Fourche LaFave, Little Missouri, Caddo and Saline Rivers.

This event resulted in two flood/flash flood deaths. Rock Creek at Boyle Park in Little Rock (Pulaski County) often overflows when rain becomes excessive. On the 21st, the body of a woman was found in the creek. She apparently drowned. The South Fork of the Spring River claimed the life of a four year old boy on the 24th. He went missing near a camp about two miles east of Saddle (Fulton County). It appears he fell into the river and drowned.

 

Along the leading edge of the precipitation, there was some severe weather. A tornado (rated EF1) tracked 13 miles from Uniontown to about 5 miles west of Chester (both in Crawford County) just before 10 pm CDT on the 19th. About thirty minutes later, there was a brief tornado (rated EF0) near Efay (Washington County).

Storm reports on March 19-20, 2012.
In the picture: Storm reports on March 19-20, 2012. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.

 

During the afternoon of the 20th, straight-line winds gusting from 70 to 80 mph downed trees and power lines in Morrilton (Conway County), with some trees on houses. The occupant of one home was injured. Similar gusts damaged at least two mobile homes at Midway (Baxter County), and there were reports of people trapped inside. Just north of Damascus (Van Buren County), roofs were partially removed from a couple of barns. Quarter size hail was reported at Sheridan (Grant County).

 

Link of Interest
Some Damage/Flood Photos

 

The satellite showed clouds and rain building into northeast Arkansas, with drying from the southwest at 315 pm CDT on 03/21/2012. The precipitation shield continued inching to the east on the 21st. By dawn on the 22nd, rainfall in the northeast half of the state averaged a half inch to an inch and a half. However, there were lesser amounts in the far northeast, with 0.32 inch at Blytheville (Mississippi County) and 0.29 inch at Corning (Clay County).
In the picture: The satellite showed clouds and rain building into northeast Arkansas, with drying from the southwest at 315 pm CDT on 03/21/2012. Cold air aloft surrounding a storm system ("L") in southwest Oklahoma moved over warmer conditions near the ground, and this destabilized the atmosphere. Near the center of the system, scattered showers and a few thunderstorms popped up. Click to enlarge.

 

On the 22nd, the Plains system wobbled to the northeast through Oklahoma into southern Kansas. Widespread rain ended in Arkansas, with some drier air and sunshine noted.

 

However, as the lower levels of the atmosphere heated up, colder air surrounding the system moved overhead. This caused clouds to build, and showers and a few thunderstorms bubbled up, especially from Little Rock (Pulaski County) to the north and west.
 A storm system ("L") aloft at 500 mb (18,000 feet) moved into southern Kansas from Oklahoma by 700 pm CDT on 03/22/2012.
In the picture: A storm system ("L") aloft at 500 mb (18,000 feet) moved into southern Kansas from Oklahoma by 700 pm CDT on 03/22/2012. The air surrounding the system was 8 to 9 deg C (14 to 16 deg F) colder at Oklahoma City, OK than Little Rock, AR. As the air chilled overhead, air near the ground was forced aloft (warm air rises). This resulted in more clouds and showers/thunderstorms in western Arkansas.

 

During the late evening, one storm brought quarter size hail to areas around Shawmut (Pike County). Thunderstorm gusts reached 50 mph along Interstate 30 near Bryant (Saline County). There was enough rain (half an inch to an inch) to cause the Fourche LaFave River to overflow at Boles (Scott County).

 

Storm Reports
Preliminary reports of severe weather and heavy rain/flash flooding in the Little Rock County Warning Area on March 20-22, 2012 (in red).
Submit a storm report.
There were many reports of heavy to excessive rain, flash flooding, damaging wind and hail on March 20th through the 22nd, 2012. For a look at some reports, click here.
 
Link of Interest
Plot Reports
In the picture: Preliminary reports of severe weather and heavy rain/flash flooding in the Little Rock County Warning Area on March 20-22, 2012 (in red).

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