Information on this webpage is considered preliminary and will continue to be updated as the event is analyzed.

Anyone with information that could enhance the record of these storms should contact the National Weather Service Office in Tulsa at 918-838-7838 during business hours, submit an online storm report, or send us an email at: sr-tsa.stormreport@noaa.gov. Information can also be posted on our Facebook page.

 

Event Summary - March 19-22, 2012 Heavy Rain and Flood Event - updated 3 pm 3/23

* Visit this link for a map of 24 hour rainfall totals from 6am to 6am.

* Visit this link for current River Flood observations and forecasts.

* Visit our Decision Support page for the lastest hazards forecast.

A widespread heavy rain and flood event affected eastern OK and northwest AR March 19-22, with areal and river flooding currently ongoing.  Widespread rainfall totals of 3”-5” affected a large portion of eastern OK and western AR from March 19-20, with an additional 0.25"-1.75" of rain falling March 21-22.  The highest storm total rainfall of 6" to 9" affected most of Mayes County and portions of Ottawa, Delaware, Rogers, Wagoner, Cherokee, Muskogee, McIntosh, Pushmataha, and Choctaw Counties. This amount of rain led to widespread flash flooding and many street closures, including state highways. Moderate to Minor river flooding also occurred due to all of the rain.  In addition to the heavy rain, a line of strong to severe thunderstorms moved slowly eastward across the area during the afternoon and evening hours of the 19th, with reports of damaging winds and large hail (see the map below for local storm reports of flooding, hail, and damaging winds).  The storms produced at least one tornado, which was on the ground for about 13 miles from southwest of Uniontown to west of Chester in Crawford County, Arkansas.

What happened?

An upper-level low became cut-off over western TX on the 19th, with only very slow eastward progress on the 20th-21st.   Strong moisture transport occurred ahead of the low, with unusually high deep layer moisture over eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas.  A cold front initially moved into eastern OK on the 19th, with showers and thunderstorms developing along it.  As the upper low became cut-off, the surface boundary stalled.  Rainfall rates of 1"-2" per hour were common due to the high atmospheric moisture.  The high amplitude nature of the upper-level storm system resulted in mid- and upper-level flow (and resultant storm movement) being parallel to the surface boundary, which caused training of heavy rain producing storms over the same areas.  Showers and isolated thunderstorm continued for much of the day on the 20th, before shifting east.  Additional light to moderate rain then redeveloped over the area on the 21st as the upper-level low continued to spin over north central TX.  The low finally began to make its way northeast over Oklahoma on the 22nd, with a continuation of scattered rain showers and isolated thunderstorms.

Interestingly, the highest rainfall totals occurred over the Grand Neosho River Basin, including the Grand, Hudson, and Ft. Gibson Lakes. These lakes rose several feet due to the heavy rain and run-off, and greatly helped to reduce the flooding impact over this area.  If the rain had occurred just 20 miles further south, significant flooding would have likely occurred along the Illinois River.  Below is a list of the highest measured rainfall totals.  We also received one report from Locust Grove 2E of a measured 10", and it had already been raining heavily before the rain gage was set up!

Some of the highest measured Storm Total Rainfall reports (above 6" storm total):

Monkey Island 2.6SSE, OK (CoCoRaHS) 11.85" 96-hr total ending at 5am 3/23 2.50" 24-hr total ending at 7am 3/22 6.35" 24-hr total ending at 4am 3/20
Chouteau 10S, OK (CoCoRaHS) 9.11" 96-hr total ending at 10am 3/23   7.10" 24-hr total ending at 10am 3/20
3WNW Okay, OK (Chouteau L&D) 9.03" 89-hr total ending at 9am 3/23 7.90" 48-hr total ending at 1pm 3/21 7.39" 24-hr total ending at 1:30pm 3/20
Chouteau Lock and Dam, OK 9.02" 89-hr total ending at 9am 3/23 7.90" 48-hr total ending at 1pm 3/21 7.36" 24-hr total ending at 1pm 3/20
Spavinaw, OK (COOP) 8.93" 96-hr total ending at 9am 3/23 2.85" 24-hr total ending at 7am 3/21 4.65" 24-hr total ending at 7am 3/20
Locust Grove, OK 8.87" 90-hr total ending at 9am 3/23 7.80" 48-hr total ending at 1pm 3/21 7.28" 24-hr total ending at 1pm 3/20
Wagoner 4.1 ESE, OK (CoCoRaHS) 8.85" 96-hr total ending at 8am 3/23   7.30" 24-hr total ending at 8am 3/20
Hudson Lake, OK 8.48" 90-hr total ending at 9am 3/23 7.81" 48-hr total ending at 1pm 3/21 7.34" 24-hr total ending at 1pm 3/20
New Eucha 5W, OK 8.33" 90-hr total ending at 9am 3/23 7.34" 48-hr total ending at 1pm 3/21 6.69" 24-hr total ending at 1pm 3/20
Pryor, OK (Mesonet) 7.61" 120-hr total ending at 9:25am 3/23 2.05" 24-hr total ending at 1am 3/21 4.46" 24-hr total ending at 1am 3/20
Grand Lake, OK 7.61" 96-hr total ending at 9am 3/23 6.69" 48-hr total ending at 1pm 3/21 6.16" 24-hr total ending at 1pm 3/20
Newt Graham Lock and Dam, OK 6.98" 90-hr total ending at 9am 3/23    
Jay Mesonet, OK 6.96" 120-hr total ending at 9:25am 3/23   4.31" 24-hr total ending at 1am 3/20
Porter, OK (Mesonet) 6.64" 120-hr total ending at 9:25am 3/23    4.02" 24-hr total ending at 1am 3/20
Inola, OK (Mesonet) 6.62" 120-hr total ending at 9:25am 3/23    3.75" 24-hr total ending at 1am 3/20
Muskogee, OK (river gage) 6.48" 89-hr total ending at 9am 3/23    
Miami, OK (COOP) 6.47" 96-hr total ending at 9am 3/23 2.27" 24-hr total ending at 7am 3/21 3.10" 24-hr total ending at 7am 3/20
Oktaha 2NE, OK (COOP) 6.42" 96-hr total ending at 9am 3/23   4.46" 24-hr total ending at 7am 3/20
Muskogee Davis Field Airport, OK (ASOS) 6.34" 98-hr total ending at 9am 3/23 2.16" 24-hr total ending at 1am 3/21 3.00" 24-hr total ending at 1am 3/20
Claremore 2ENE, OK (COOP) 6.32" 96-hr total ending at 9am 3/23   4.71" 24-hr total ending at 7am 3/20
Lake Eucha, OK 6.31" 90-hr total ending at 9am 3/23    
Pryor, OK (COOP) 6.24" 89-hr total ending at 9am 3/23    
Antlers, OK (COOP) 6.19" 96-hr total ending at 9am 3/23   5.23" 24-hr total ending at 7am 3/20
Spavinaw Dam, OK 6.13" 88-hr total ending at 9am 3/23    
Webbers Falls Lock and Dam, OK 6.06" 90-hr total ending at 9am 3/23    

 The above data come from a variety of sources, including the Oklahoma Mesonet, ASOS, NWS Cooperative Observers, USGS, and USACE.

Storm Total Rainfall reports from ASOS Stations:

Tulsa, OK 4.83" 96-hr total ending at 1am 3/23 2.81" 24-hr total ending at 1am 3/20, new daily rainfall record (previous record 1.15" in 1968)
Fort Smith, AR 3.94" 96-hr total ending at 1am 3/23 2.11" 24-hr total ending at 1am 3/21, new daily rainfall record (previous record 1.92" in 1955)
McAlester, OK 4.53" 96-hr total ending at 1am 3/23 2.12" 24-hr total ending at 1am 3/21
Fayetteville, AR 3.70" 96-hr total ending at 1am 3/23  
Bartlesville, OK 4.37" 96-hr total ending at 1am 3/23 3.01" 24-hr total ending at 1am 3/20
Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport 3.63" 96-hr total ending at 1am 3/23  
Jenks/Riverside Airport, OK 4.65" 96-hr total ending at 1am 3/23 3.05" 24-hr total ending at 1am 3/20

Information from this event is still considered preliminary and will be modified based on additional information that may become available to us.  Anyone with information that could enhance the record of this event should contact the National Weather Service Office in Tulsa at 918-838-7838 during business hours, or send us an email at sr-tsa.stormreport@noaa.gov, or submit an online report.

 Image captions below the image.  Click on image to open a larger version in a new window. Additional images can be found in the Event Map below.

OK rainfall map OK rainfall map
OK rainfall map through 9:35 am March 21, 2012
 Storm Total Rainfall ending 8:30 am March 23, 2012
Neosho River basin and rainfall total radar estimated rainfall
The highest rainfall totals fell over the Grand Neosho River, including Grand, Hudson, and Ft. Gibson Lakes.  These lakes rose several feet and helped to lessen downstream river flooding.  Rainfall totals are through 8 am March 21, 2012. Rainfall estimate through 8 am March 21, 2012
 storm total rainfall 
  Storm Total Rainfall through 7am March 23, 2012

 

water vapor image water vapor image water vapor image water vapor image
The upper-level low can be seen over southern New Mexico in this water vapor satellite image from 3pm March 19. The upper-level low can still be seen over southern New Mexico in this water vapor satellite image from midnight March 20. The upper-level low can be seen moving into the Texas panhandle in this water vapor satellite image from 8 am March 20. The upper-level low can be seen over Oklahoma in this water vapor satellite image from 12:15 pm March 22.
radar image visible satellite image satellite and radar image visible satellite image
Radar image showing widespread rain at 1 am March 20. Center of the low pressure system can be seen over western Oklahoma in this visibile satellite image from 11:15 am March 21. Rainfall and visible satellite image from 2:30 pm March 21. Center of the low pressure system can be seen over north central Oklahoma in this visibile satellite image from 8:45 am March 22.
radar image  Grand Lake hydrograph  Hudson Lake hydrograph  Ft. Gibson Lake hydrograph
Radar image at 1:42 pm March 22. The rain bands were moving counter-clockwise around the low, which is centered just north of Enid, OK.  Hydrograph showing rise in lake levels at Grand Lake (46% of flood control storage in use at the latest observation shown).  Hydrograph showing rise in lake levels at Hudson Lake (53% of flood control storage in use at the latest observation shown).  Hydrograph showing rise in lake levels at Ft. Gibson Lake (51% of flood control storage in use at the latest observation shown).

 

 

Preliminary Event Impact Map This map will be updated as additional information is received.  Click on the icons within the map for additional details and/or images related to that impact.  Tornado information can be found by clicking on the track.

Tornado Tracks: Due to mapping/GPS software differences and road accessibility along the track, use the plotted tracks for general reference only. Tornado tracks may be updated and/or changed due to storm damage surveys, data analysis, and eyewitness reports.

Storm Survey: Colored icons represent the Storm Survey rating assigned to surveyed damage. Click on the icon for additional information and available photos. You may need to zoom in tightly to see all the available data points when data points are logged close to one another.  Links to photos are available in the upper portion of the text window that opens when you click on one of the colored data icons or points.

Hail, Wind, and Flood Reports: Click on the icon for the time, location, and description of the storm report. Click here to submit your storm report.

Other Data: Additional data or images from the event.

Survey Legend

 

 


 

 
 
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