Climate Data
Yearly Reports
Interested in what kind of weather occurred in a recent year? Check out the most memorable events below.
 
Few Tornadoes Across Arkansas in 2012
 

Drought conditions dominated weather headlines in 2012, with not much mention of severe storms. Given below normal rain over a large area of the country, tornado numbers were down. Overall, there were roughly 936 tornadoes nationwide (almost 400 tornadoes below average). There were far more tornadoes in 2011 (around 1,700).

 

 

This year started active, with numerous tornadoes from late February through April. Most of this severe weather managed to bypass Arkansas.

 

A Lack of Killer Tornadoes

According to the Storm Prediction Center (in Norman, OK), the longest period without a killer tornado across the U.S. was 197 days ending on February 28, 1987. There were two other spans over 190 days ending in early 1982 and April, 1960. In 2012, there was not a tornado related fatality from June 25th through December 24th (183 days). This was the fourth longest period on record.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Much of the bathhouse at the Fordyce County Club (Dallas County) was blown into the pool by a tornado (rated EF2) on 01/22/2012.
In the picture: Much of the bathhouse at the Fordyce County Club (Dallas County) was blown into the pool by a tornado (rated EF2) on 01/22/2012. Click to enlarge.
The same tornado dismantled a church built in 1852 about 2.8 miles west-northwest of Kingsland (Cleveland County).
In the picture: The same tornado dismantled a church built in 1852 about 2.8 miles west-northwest of Kingsland (Cleveland County). Click to enlarge.
 

The only significant tornado event of 2012 in the state unfolded on January 22nd. Seven (7) tornadoes were counted in the south and east (an eight county area). One storm was responsible for 5 tornadoes, with the strongest of these (rated EF2) damaging houses and a country club on the north side of Fordyce (Dallas County). The tornado also slammed into a 150 year old church north of Kingsland (Cleveland County). Fortunately, there were no fatalities.

 

The remnants of Hurricane Isaac ("L") were in eastern Missouri at 400 pm CDT on 09/01/2012. The remnants of Hurricane Isaac were responsible for two more tornadoes (one rated EF2) in the Corning (Clay County) area on September 1st. There was extensive damage at a local airport, with numerous aircraft thrown.
In the picture: The remnants of Hurricane Isaac ("L") were in eastern Missouri at 400 pm CDT on 09/01/2012. South of the system, it was very warm and humid (dewpoints in the 70s in central/eastern Arkansas), with breezy west to southwest winds. Models showed thunderstorms developing from northeast into central sections of the state. Winds are shown with white arrows. Dewpoints are dashed blue lines.

 

There were three weak tornadoes (rated EF0/EF1) in October, and two more in December for a yearly total of 18 tornadoes. This is the fewest tornadoes since 2007 when 16 tornadoes were counted.

 

Tornadoes in Arkansas 
Year Tornadoes
2012 18
2011 75
2010 33
2009 45
2008 81
2007 16

 

There were many more tornadoes in recent years locally. As mentioned previously, it was quite active in 2011 (especially in April/May). The most tornadoes on record were counted in 1999 (107) and 2008 (81). These were La Niña (cooler than normal water in the equatorial Pacific Ocean) years, which sometimes feature severe weather events earlier (January) and more often than normal. The record for the most tornadoes is 107 in 1999.
In the picture: The record for the most tornadoes is 107 in 1999. More than half of these (56) were spawned during one outbreak on January 21-22, 1999.

 

La Niña conditions prevailed during the first few months of 2012. But other than the January outbreak, it was unusually quiet around here.

 

Average yearly tornadoes (left number) and tornado fatalities (right number) in Arkansas and surrounding states. In a typical year, there are 33 tornadoes in Arkansas and 4 tornado related deaths.
In the picture: Average yearly tornadoes (left number) and tornado fatalities (right number) in Arkansas and surrounding states.

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