Monthly Storm Reports and Storm Data
Storm Reports
Are you interested in what happened during a recent event? Check out the report below.
 
December, 2012 Storm Report
 
Short Weather Summary
 
Those who wanted snow for the holiday season needed to be patient. Much of December was mild, and this favored severe thunderstorms over anything Jack Frost could bring. But after 86 years of waiting in Little Rock (Pulaski County), it snowed on the 25th and also accumulated. Boy did it ever!

 

Record Temperatures
 
There were several record highs in December, especially in the first few days of the month. There was one record low on the 27th. Check out the records below.

 

Site Record Low (Date of Occurrence)
Jacksonville 13 (12/27)

 

Site Record High (Date of Occurrence)
Fayetteville 75 (12/02), 75 (12/03)
Fort Smith 78 (12/02), 80 (12/03)
Hot Springs 74T (12/01)
Jacksonville 75T (12/01), 72T (12/09)
Jonesboro 75T (12/03)
Monticello 75T (12/02), 76 (12/04)
North Little Rock 74 (12/01), 68T (12/08), 68 (12/20)
Russellville 78T (12/03), 76T (12/09)
Stuttgart 72 (12/01), 73 (12/02), 73T (12/04), 66T (12/07)
Note: "T" means record was tied.

 

Slowly Becoming Winter
 
While a Tornado Watch was issued for Arkansas during the afternoon of 12/09/2012, Blizzard Warnings and Winter Storm Warnings were posted for portions of the northern Plains and upper Midwest.
The beginning of December looked very much like spring. The first few days featured a lot of temperatures in the 70s to around 80 degrees. Any snow was well to the north in the upper Midwest. Around here, severe thunderstorms were much more likely.
In the picture: While a Tornado Watch was issued for Arkansas during the afternoon of 12/09/2012, Blizzard Warnings and Winter Storm Warnings were posted for portions of the northern Plains and upper Midwest.

 

Severe storms came to fruition on the 9th as a cold front slammed into the state from the Plains. A hay barn was damaged and a roof was torn off of a partially built home near Imboden (Lawrence County). Four to five miles west of Viola (Fulton County), the roof was removed from a duplex, and at least three mobile homes were heavily damaged. Straight-line wind gusts reaching 70 to 80 mph were the culprit at both locations.

It was much colder after the front went through. Readings dipped into the teens and 20s by dawn on the 11th. The low at Waldron (Scott County) was a chilly 13 degrees, with 14 degrees at Evening Shade (Sharp County), Gilbert (Searcy County), Lead Hill (Boone County) and Mammoth Spring (Fulton County).

 

Early on the 12th, subfreezing air hovered over the much warmer water of the Arkansas River (water temperature near 60 degrees), and steam fog formed. The fog engulfed bridges in central Arkansas, including the Interstate 430 bridge in the Little Rock (Pulaski County) area.

The Interstate 430 bridge, which is about 6 miles west-northwest of downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County), spans a wide spot along the Arkansas River.
In the picture: The Interstate 430 bridge, which is about 6 miles west-northwest of downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County), spans a wide spot along the Arkansas River. A large fetch of water makes it easier to create steam fog when cold air settles over the area.

 

Freezing fog made the bridge icy, and several traffic accidents resulted. The bridge was shut down temporarily.

 

There was a complex weather pattern early on 12/20/2012.

Above normal temperatures returned, and another storm system was on the horizon by the 19th. The system tracked from the Texas panhandle into Missouri. It was cold enough for snow and blizzard conditions to the north and west of the system. This time, accumulating snow was only a six hour drive away. Locally, severe thunderstorms were on the menu again.

In the picture: There was a complex weather pattern early on 12/20/2012. Snow and blowing snow existed north and west of a storm system ("L") in western Missouri, with strong to severe thunderstorms farther south and east.

 

The strongest storms tended develop in southern sections of the state where the atmosphere was the most unstable (warmest temperatures and available moisture). Given a lot of wind energy aloft, storms were driven to the east quickly.

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.
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.

 

One line of storms in particular rocketed through several southern counties at more than 50 mph. The storms produced 60 to more than 80 mph gusts from Murfreesboro (Pike County) to Arkadelphia (Clark County), Donaldson (Hot Spring County), Sheridan (Grant County), White Hall (Jefferson County) and DeWitt (Arkansas County). Numerous trees and power lines were downed along the way, with roads blocked by fallen trees.

On the north end of the line, a brief weak tornado (rated EF1) was spawned a few miles west of Sheridan (Grant County) early on the 20th. This was the second tornado of the night, and the 18th and final tornado of the year. In a typical year, there are 33 tornadoes.

 

Snow totals in the twenty four hour period ending at 600 am CST on 12/26/2012.

As Christmas approached, there were signs of a change. Stormy weather (including tornadoes) was headed to areas along the Gulf Coast, and it turned colder around here. That could mean only one thing: snow was coming.

In the picture: Snow totals in the twenty four hour period ending at 600 am CST on 12/26/2012.

 

 

An extremely rare event unfolded on December 25th. Portions of west central into central and northeast Arkansas were buried under a thick blanket of heavy snow. Thundersnow was reported in the heavy snow band, and this led to some big amounts.

By the time it was all over (during the early morning hours of the 26th), Perry (Perry County) had 17.5 inches on the ground. Jessieville (Garland County) and Union Valley (Perry County) got 15 inches. At Houston (Perry County) and Hoxie (Lawrence County), 14 inches was measured. Judsonia (White County) and Morrilton (Conway County) had 13 inches.

 

Heavy Snow Reports (12/26/2012)
Site Amount (Inches)
Perry (Perry Co) 17.5
Jessieville (Garland Co) 15.0
Union Valley (Perry Co) 15.0
Houston (Perry Co) 14.0
Hoxie (Lawrence Co) 14.0
Judsonia (White Co) 13.0
Morrilton (Conway Co) 13.0
Petit Jean State Park (Conway Co) 13.0
Batesville (Independence Co) 12.5
Austin (Lonoke Co) 12.0
Bogg Springs (Polk Co) 12.0
Mountain View (Stone Co) 12.0
Pocahontas (Randolph Co) 12.0
Vandervoort (Polk Co) 12.0

 

At Little Rock (Pulaski County), the last time it snowed on Christmas and it stuck (more than a trace of snow depth) was 1926! During this event, 9 inches piled up on the 25th. It was not only the most snow ever on Christmas locally, it was the 8th snowiest day on record (the snowiest was March 6th, 1875 with 12 inches). There was an additional 1.3 inches early on the 26th (for an event total of 10.3 inches).

It hardly snowed at all in the northwest. Available liquid to make snow amounted to just a trace at Fayetteville (Washington County) and Mountain Home (Baxter County), and only 0.01 inch at Harrison (Boone County). Moisture was much more plentiful farther south as clouds dumped 2.70 inches of water at  De Queen (Sevier County), 2.46 inches at Texarkana (Miller County) and 2.08 inches at Mount Ida (Montgomery County).

 

Precipitation in December, 2012
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 2.85 3.17 -0.32 90%
Harrison (NC AR) 2.08 3.20 -1.12 65%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 3.69 4.77 -1.08 77%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 2.75 3.29 -0.54 84%
Little Rock (C AR) 5.60 4.97 +0.63 113%
West Memphis (EC AR) 3.11 5.42 -2.31 57%
Texarkana (SW AR) 4.46 5.05 -0.59 88%
El Dorado (SC AR) 6.06 5.18 +0.88 117%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 5.19 5.44 -0.25 95%

 

Thanks to these hefty amounts, monthly precipitation totals finished above normal in parts of the south. Otherwise, totals were generally subpar.

 

Links of Interest
December 8-11, 2012 (severe storms/heavy rain/turning colder)
December 12, 2012 (freezing fog)
December 19-20, 2012 (severe storms/very windy)
December 25-26, 2012 (winter storm)

 

Additional December Details
 
For more details about December, 2012...go to the "Temperatures and Precipitation" section below.

 

Temperatures and Precipitation
Temperatures were well above normal in much of December, but were well below normal in the last week. Readings at North Little Rock are shown to right. December, 2012 Temperatures in North Little Rock

 

December, 2012 Precipitation in North Little Rock Rainfall was gernally below normal, with some above normal totals in central and southern sections of the state. Amounts at North Little Rock are shown to left.

 

To right, a look at precipitation across the state. December, 2012 Precipitation in Arkansas

 

For a look at actual temperatures and precipitation in Arkansas as measured by the cooperative observer network, click here.

USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.