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 April 30 - May 2, 2011
 
A cold front moved into Arkansas early on 05/01/2011. Torrential rain began across the central third of Arkansas on April 30th. The rain was focused along a cold front that pushed into the state from the Plains and stalled.
In the picture: A cold front moved into Arkansas early on 05/01/2011. Temperatures are dashed white lines.

 

Areas from Beebe (White County) to Cabot (Lonoke County), Mayflower (Faulkner County), Maumelle (Pulaski County), Paron (Saline County) and Jessieville (Garland County) were affected. Four to six inches of rain was common, with locally more than eight inches.  The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed an axis of heavy rain across the central third of Arkansas at 100 am CDT on 05/01/2011.
In the picture: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed an axis of heavy rain across the central third of Arkansas at 100 am CDT on 05/01/2011. The axis remained nearly stationary for several hours.

 

Storm reports in a twenty four hour period ending at 500 pm CDT on 04/04/2011. Twenty four hour rainfall through 700 am CDT on May 1st included 8.70 inches at Morgan (Pulaski County), 7.14 inches at Lake Maumelle (Pulaski County),  6.71 inches near Cabot (Lonoke County) and 5.57 inches at the North Little Rock Airport (Pulaski County). There were reports of roads closed and barricaded, high water rescues and flooded homes.
In the picture: Rainfall estimates were over 6 inches from northern Saline into northern Pulaski, southern Faulkner and northern Lonoke Counties as of 214 am CDT on 05/01/2011.

 

The front edged into the southern counties by the afternoon and evening of the 1st. North of the front, temperatures were only in the 40s/50s. Meanwhile, readings toward the Louisiana border were in the 80s. Forty eight hour rainfall through 1100 pm CDT on 05/01/2011.
In the picture: Forty eight hour rainfall through 1100 pm CDT on 05/01/2011. Precipitation was along and north of a front.

 

Warmth and moisture south of the front flowed northward, and was forced aloft by a wedge of cooler air over the northern counties. This created clouds and storm clouds, and widespread precipitation across the northwest half of the state by the late afternoon/evening. Given nearly saturated soil conditions (with nowhere for water to go), Flash Flood Warnings were issued for large areas.

By 700 am CDT on the 2nd, two day rainfall totals jumped to more than a foot in places. A whopping 12.52 inches was measured at Marche (Pulaski County), with up to 12.00 inches at Maumelle (Pulaski County) and 10.50 inches just southeast of Mayflower (Faulkner County). There were numerous reports of more than four inches.

 

 

The situation along area rivers late on 05/01/2011. The rain caused flashy rivers in the north (like the Buffalo and Spring Rivers) to rise rapidly. The added water guaranteed that the Black and lower White Rivers would remain high (near historic levels) for a prolonged period. Record or near record crests were achieved (topping 2008 stages).
In the picture: The situation along area rivers late on 05/01/2011.

 

Crests Along Black and White Rivers
Location River Crest (ft) Flood Stage (ft) Date Crest (ft) Date
Corning (Clay Co) Black 15.92 15 03/22/2008 18.12R 04/28/2011
Pocahontas (Randolph Co) Black 26.56 17 03/22/2008 28.47R 04/28/2011
Black Rock (Lawrence Co) Black 29.71 14 03/20/2008 30.45 04/26/2011
Newport (Jackson Co) White 33.87 26 03/21/2008 34.17 05/04/2011
Augusta (Woodruff Co) White 38.41 26 03/22/2008 40.80 05/05/2011
Georgetown (White Co) White 30.18 21 03/24/2008 33.95R 05/06/2011
Des Arc (Prairie Co) White 33.74 24 03/25/2008 39.43R 05/07/2011
Clarendon (Monroe Co) White 33.04 26 03/29/2008 37.54 05/10/2011
Note: "R" is record crest.

 

The White River was slow to drain because it flows into an already high Mississippi River. On the 2nd, the flow rate of the Mississippi River at Memphis, TN was over 1,000,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). In 2008, the flow was only 300,000 cfs.

Overflowing tributaries endangered homes and businesses. As of the morning of the 2nd,  emergency management advised people to evacuate along the White River at Des Arc and Biscoe (both in Prairie County). More evacuations took place in Jacksonport (Jackson County) by evening. 

 

On the 5th, evacuations were ordered at Gregory, McClelland and Cotton Plant (all in Woodruff County) due to overtopping of the levee along the White River and a swollen Cache River. The National Guard arrived in Cotton Plant (Woodruff County) on 05/06/2011 following evacuation orders for the town.
In the picture: The National Guard arrived in Cotton Plant (Woodruff County) on 05/06/2011 following evacuation orders for the town. The photo is courtesy of Larry Kreif. Click to enlarge.

 

Travel was also affected. U.S. Highway 67/167 was closed between Sherwood and Jacksonville (Pulaski County) through the 3rd/early on the 4th. Water from the White River was over U.S. Highway 70 at DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), and also over Highway 36 at Georgetown (White County). At the latter location, this is the only road out of town...leaving the town isolated.

On the 4th, the White River was high enough to close the westbound lanes of Interstate 40 in eastern Prairie County (at mile marker 202). The eastbound lanes were closed by the evening of the 5th. Traffic was diverted onto surrounding highways to avoid flooding. The detours involved 50 to 100 miles of extra driving.

 

Flood/Flash Flood Fatalities
This high water episode claimed at least six (6) lives. One fatality around Mayflower (Faulkner County) was the result of a vehicle overtaken by flood waters on May 1st along Arkansas State Highway 89. Another person disappeared on the 1st near Des Arc (Prairie County), but was found on the 4th (a drowning death). Other victims drove their vehicles into flooded highways in Cross, Greene, Lonoke and Randolph Counties (from May 3 through the 14th).

 

Tabitha Clarke (Service Hydrologist) and Sean Clarke (Meteorological Intern) of the National Weather Service in Little Rock flew with the Civil Air Patrol over mainly the White River basin on 05/06/2011. The National Weather Service flew over flood ravaged areas on the 6th.
In the picture (from left): Tabitha Clarke (Service Hydrologist) and Sean Clarke (Meteorological Intern) of the National Weather Service in Little Rock flew with the Civil Air Patrol over mainly the White River basin on 05/06/2011. Click to enlarge.

 

 

The sounding (temperature and dewpoint profile with height) at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) showed a strong inversion (at least 10 degrees F) from the surface to 900 mb, and turning winds with height (east surface winds and southwest winds aloft) at 700 pm CDT on 05/01/2011.
In the picture: The sounding (temperature and dewpoint profile with height) at North Little Rock (Pulaski County) showed a strong inversion (at least 10 degrees F) from the surface to 900 mb, and turning winds with height (east surface winds and southwest winds aloft) at 700 pm CDT on 05/01/2011. Storms tended to form above the inversion, and produced hail as moisture was driven into dry air aloft (creating cooling through evaporation which made it easier for ice to form). Most storms rotated aloft (above 5000 feet), with the inversion preventing circulations from reaching the ground.
 

There was some severe weather on the 1st, and mainly hail was produced. Golfball size hail fell near Wye (Perry County) and at Cleveland (Conway County), with quarter size hail at Benton and Bryant (both in Saline County), Murfreesboro (Pike County), Norfork (Baxter County) and Russellville (Pope County).

 

While damage reports are somewhat uncommon in colder air well north of a front, a barn was destroyed and trees and power lines were downed near Center Ridge (Conway County). A tornado (rated EF1) was confirmed in the area. A few trees were toppled near Wonderview (Conway County) by damaging straight-line winds.

A weak tornado (rated EF1) tracked through northern Conway County on 05/01/2011.
In the picture: A weak tornado (rated EF1) tracked through northern Conway County on 05/01/2011.

 

 

Storm Reports
Preliminary reports of severe weather and flash flooding in the Little Rock County Warning Area on April 30 - May 2, 2011 (in red).
Submit a storm report.
There were reports of flash flooding and  hail in northern and central Arkansas on April 30th through May 2nd, 2011. There was isolated wind damage and a weak tornado in Conway County. For a look at some reports, click here.
 
Link of Interest
Plot Reports
In the picture: Preliminary reports of severe weather and flash flooding in the Little Rock County Warning Area on April 30 - May 2, 2011 (in red).

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