Climate Data
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The Winter of 2010/2011 (Pg1)
 
The official NOAA outlook for winter called for warmer and wetter than normal conditions in Arkansas. The forecast for this winter (December, 2010 through February, 2011) called for above normal temperatures and at or above normal precipitation in Arkansas. That did not exactly work out.
In the picture: The official NOAA outlook for winter called for warmer and wetter than normal conditions in Arkansas.

 

Link of Interest
NOAA Official Winter Outlook

 

In fact, this winter was much like the winter of 2009/2010. More specifically, it was cold with several rounds of snow.

 

Link of Interest
The Cold Winter of 2009/2010

 

It was the coldest December on record in Georgia and Florida. Temperatures were subpar in the eastern half of the country. Atlanta. GA had the first white Christmas since 1882!

Statewide temperature ranks in December, 2010 (courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center).
In the picture: Statewide temperature ranks in December, 2010 (courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center). Low pressure aloft ("L") frequenty formed in the northeast, and this sent cold air from Canada into the eastern half of the country.

 

The Arctic Oscillation Index (AO) has been strongly negative so far this winter.

Much of this had to do with high sea-level pressure over the Arctic Ocean (from 20 degrees N latitude poleward) and lower than normal pressure in the mid-latitudes.This led to a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation (AO) index, with a trough of low pressure frequently forming in the eastern United States.

In the picture: The Arctic Oscillation Index (AO) has been strongly negative so far this winter. Click to enlarge.

 

Link of Interest
Monitor the AO Index

 

Air from Canada was diverted southward into Arkansas. A more positive AO would result in less troughing, more of an east-west flow across the country and milder conditions. That is exactly what happened in February, and temperatures rebounded. However, it was not enough to offset below normal readings experienced up to that point.

 

Average Temperatures
Site Dec, 2010 Temps +/- Jan, 2011 Temps +/- Feb, 2011 Temps +/- Overall
Fayetteville (NW AR) 36.1° -1.8° 33.1° -1.2° 37.9° -1.8° -1.6°
Harrison (NC AR) 36.5° -1.6° 35.2° +0.3° 39.1° -1.1° -0.8°
Jonesboro (NE AR) 36.9° -2.9° 35.6°   0.0° 42.9° +2.1° -0.3°
Fort Smith (WC AR) 41.2° +0.2° 37.6° -0.4° 43.1° -0.6° -0.3°
Little Rock (C AR) 41.0° -2.2° 39.3° -0.8° 46.1° +0.9° -0.7°
W Memphis (EC AR) 38.5° -2.6° 36.6° -0.9° 44.8° +2.3° -0.4°
Texarkana (SW AR) 44.7° -2.2° 41.4° -2.9° 47.3° -2.3° -2.5°
El Dorado (SC AR) 43.9° -2.2° 41.5° -2.1° 47.6° -0.7° -1.7°
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 42.2° -1.9° 40.6° -0.2° 47.7° +1.7° -0.1°

 

After a dry December and January, there was more precipitation (and lots of snow) in February as the AO went positive. In the end, totals fell short, and were less than half of normal across southern Arkansas.

Percent of normal precipitation in February, 2011.
In the picture: Percent of normal precipitation in February, 2011.

 

Precipitation
Site Dec, 2010 Pcpn +/- Jan, 2011 Pcpn +/- Feb, 2011 Pcpn +/- Overall
Fayetteville (NW AR) 1.53 -1.67 0.27 -1.87 3.70 +1.29 -2.25
Harrison (NC AR) 0.68 -2.95 0.25 -2.26 4.43 +1.72 -3.49
Jonesboro (NE AR) 2.34 -1.91 0.50 -2.79 5.36 +1.80 -2.90
Fort Smith (WC AR) 2.14 -1.25 0.51 -1.86 3.18 +0.59 -2.52
Little Rock (C AR) 2.08 -2.63 0.94 -2.67 4.04 +0.71 -4.59
W Memphis (EC AR) 2.14 -3.33 1.18 -2.89 2.86 -1.35 -7.57
Texarkana (SW AR) 1.27 -3.56 2.25 -1.32 2.22 -1.09 -5.97
El Dorado (SC AR) 0.48 -4.32 3.20 -1.73 2.34 -1.90 -7.95
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 1.21 -4.20 1.02 -3.19 3.51 -0.49 -7.88

 

More Information
 
There is more concerning the winter of 2010/2011. To check out the rest of the story, click here.

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