Climate Data
Yearly Reports
Interested in what kind of weather occurred in a recent year? Check out the most memorable events below.
 
Little Rock Yearly Climate Summary (2012)/Pg2
 
A highway sign was blown through the front window of a video rental store/bait shop by a weak tornado (rated EF1) at Clarendon (Monroe County) on 10/17/2012.
In the picture: A highway sign was blown through the front window of a video rental store/bait shop by a weak tornado (rated EF1) at Clarendon (Monroe County) on 10/17/2012. Click to enlarge.
The sign ended up on the floor of the store. The store closed 5 to 10 minutes before this happened.
In the picture: The sign ended up on the floor of the store. The store closed 5 to 10 minutes before this happened. Click to enlarge.
 

Other than the tornadoes (7 of them) in January, the busiest month for tornadoes (only 3 of them) was October. 

During the evening of the 13th (between 930 pm and 1000 pm CDT), a weak tornado (rated EF1/90 to 100 mph winds) tracked 12.5 miles through Benton County in the Tulsa County Warning Area. On the west side of Rogers (Benton County), several businesses had structural damage and windows blown out. A two by four was lofted through a car windshield and injured two people.

Earlier in the evening (around 630 pm CDT), lightning delayed the first quarter of the Arkansas and Kentucky college football game at Fayetteville (Washington County) for a little more than an hour. Conditions worsened later, with the game finally suspended in the third quarter.

On the 17th, a short-lived weak tornado (rated EF1) was identified at Clarendon (Monroe County), with numerous trees and power lines downed and some structural damage. Much of the town was without power. Another weak tornado (rated EF0) briefly touched down in a farm field just northwest of Seaton (Lonoke County).

 

The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a bowing segment tracking from Arkadelphia (Clark County) toward Sheridan (Grant County) at 104 am CST on 12/20/2012.

Early on December 20th, a bowing line of storms rocketed through areas south and east of Little Rock (Pulaski County) at more than 50 mph.

In the picture: The WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) showed a bowing segment tracking from Arkadelphia (Clark County) toward Sheridan (Grant County) at 104 am CST on 12/20/2012. The bowing was caused by damaging winds punching into a line of storms from behind.

 

The bow and its damaging winds swept from Murfreesboro (Pike County) to Arkadelphia (Clark County), Donaldson (Hot Spring County), Sheridan (Grant County), White Hall (Jefferson County) and DeWitt (Arkansas County). While there were other storms during the event, this one was mostly responsible for the 40,000 power outages reported statewide.

On the north end of the line, a brief weak tornado (rated EF1) was spawned a few miles west of Sheridan (Grant County). A mobile home was destroyed, with shop buildings damaged and trees snapped. Several minor injuries were reported. Another weak tornado (rated EF1) was produced by a separate storm northeast of Lavaca (Sebastian County).

 

Outside of Arkansas
 
Storm reports from severe weather outbreaks in 2012 (late February through mid April).
In the picture: Storm reports from severe weather outbreaks in 2012 (late February through mid April). The graphics are courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.
 

From late February through April, several significant severe weather outbreaks managed to bypass Arkansas and affected neighboring states. This is when the vast majority of severe storms occurred in 2012, with a widespread drought keeping storms to a minimum heading into the summer. As the year came to a close, roughly 936 tornadoes were counted nationwide. This was well under the normal of 1,300 tornadoes.

 

Severe Weather Outbreaks in 2012
During the early morning of February 29th, tornadoes ripped across southern Missouri and southern Illinois. A tornado (rated EF4) hit through Harrisburg, IL shortly before 500 am CST and killed 6 people. Earlier in the morning (between 100 am and 200 am CST), a tornado (rated EF2) tracked along the main tourist strip (Highway 76) in Branson, MO. The entertainment district was hit, with at least 35 people injured.

On March 2nd, the biggest event of the year slammed the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys and parts of the southeast United States. There were at least 40 tornado-related fatalities. Long track tornadoes cut swaths through West Liberty, KY (rated EF3) and Henryville, IN (rated EF4). These tornadoes killed 11 people and 10 people respectively.

More than a dozen tornadoes were produced in northeast Texas on April 3rd. Extensive property damage was noted in several Dallas, TX suburbs (Kennedale, Arlington, Lancaster and Forney), and northeast along Interstate 30 toward Royse City and Sulphur Springs. The statistic that mattered most: no fatalities.

As tax day approached, numerous tornadoes assaulted portions of the central and southern Plains and parts of the upper Midwest on April 14th. Some of the hardest hit areas included Woodward, OK, Salina and Wichita, KS and Thurman, IA. Tornadoes in these spots were rated EF2 to EF4.

 

A derecho (long-lived bow echo) tracked from northern Indiana to the mid-Atlantic Coast on June 29th. One of the more costly events of the year, this system swallowed a vast chunk of real estate (600 miles) in less than half a day. Peak wind gusts were between 80 and 100 mph, including 91 mph at Fort Wayne, IN. There were millions of power outages and twenty two fatalities.
A derecho swept from northern Indiana through West Virginia in only eight hours on 06/29/2012.
In the picture: A derecho swept from northern Indiana through West Virginia in only eight hours on 06/29/2012.

 

Drought conditions were widespread as of 08/21/2012.
In the picture: Drought conditions were widespread as of 08/21/2012.
 

During the summer, drought dominated the headlines across the nation. By late August, the drought encompassed a little more than 1,800 counties in 38 states. This was the most far reaching drought since the mid 1950s. Wildfires consumed more than 9 million acres, with one of the largest fires near Fort Collins, CO. There, the High Park fire destroyed 80,000 acres and 250 homes in June. It was the second largest fire in state history. The Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire burned from May through July in the Gila National Forest in southwest New Mexico. Almost 300,000 acres later, it set a state record.

 

On October 18th, close to hurricane force winds followed a storm system in the northern Plains. The winds whipped across drought stricken areas of Nebraska and Kansas where soil moisture was woefully low and dirt was easily lifted. A large plume of dust spread south and east toward Arkansas. The dust storm caused a multi-car accident (three dozen vehicles and trucks) in northern Oklahoma and shut down Interstate 35. Nine people were injured.

In the picture: A powerful storm system over the Great Lakes produced close to hurricane force winds in the northern Plains, with dust driven from Nebraska into Oklahoma by 315 pm CDT on 10/18/2012. Moisture wrapping around the system resulted in plenty of clouds east of the dust plume.

 

Other than the drought, the biggest catastrophy of the year happened in October. Hurricane Sandy slammed into the southern New Jersey Coast with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (gusts over 100 mph) by the early evening of the 29th.

Hurricane Sandy ("L") moved into southern New Jersey during the early evening of 10/29/2012.
In the picture: Hurricane Sandy ("L") moved into southern New Jersey during the early evening of 10/29/2012. The system significantly impacted areas from the mid-Atlantic states to New England (wind/rain/onshore flow and storm surge), and also the central Appalachians (snow).

 

An historic event unfolded, with life threatening storm surge flooding from Delaware to Massachusetts, and tropical storm to hurricane force winds (40 to 90+ mph) from the mid-Atlantic Coast to parts of New England. This caused extensive tree and power line damage and widespread power outages. Southwest of the track of Sandy, five to ten inches of rain fell from southern Pennsylvania to northern Virginia. This caused moderate to major high water problems along creeks and small streams. One to two feet of snow piled up in the mountains of West Virginia, with gusty winds creating blizzard conditions. At least 130 fatalities were blamed on Sandy, and damage estimates were an estimated $60+ billion.

 

Links of Interest
Much More About Sandy

 

Sandy was one of nineteen named storms (twelve is normal) during hurricane season (June through November). Of the storms, ten became hurricanes (six is normal) and there was only one major hurricane (three is normal). This was Michael, a Category 3 storm (115 mph sustained winds) in early September that stayed over the open water of the Atlantic Ocean. The season started early, with two tropical storms (Alberto and Beryl) in May. It was the seventh consecutive year where no major hurricanes (Category 3 or above) hit the United States.


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