Friday, February 24, 2017

Does A Warm February = A Hot Summer?

This is the 2nd most asked question I have received this month.  In case you're wondering, the #1 question is, "will it snow again this winter?"  For this post, I'm only going to focus on the summer and how a warm February relates to that.  The snow thing does not look good though.

We are going to end this month in record territory all over the state in several categories.

As of the 24th, this February is the 2nd warmest by average high temperature, the 7th warmest by average low temperature, and the 3rd warmest by average monthly temperature.  Also, we have had 9 days with a high temperature of 70° or higher.  The record is 11 days set in 1976 and that's reachable.

For this research, I simply looked at the top 10 warmest Februarys by average high, average low, and average monthly temperature.  Then, I looked at where the following summer ranked in each of those categories. It should also be noted, I only grabbed the top 20 summers in each of those categories for comparison.  Where you see N/A, that means it did NOT fall within the top 20.  Here are the results.

By average monthly high temperature, Only 3 out of the top 10 February's ranked in the top 20 hottest summers.

By average monthly low temperature, only 2 out of the top 10 February's ranked in the top 20 summers.  None in the top 10 though.

By average monthly temperature, only 3 out of the top 10 February's ranked in the top 20 summers.

In summary, it is unlikely you can correlate a warm February to a hot summer.  Every summer is hot in Arkansas.  It's just a question of "how hot"?

Thursday, February 09, 2017

February 10th, 2011. Cold Doesn't Even Begin To Describe It.

It was a snowstorm weather geeks dream of happening.  Most of central Arkansas received 5-7'' of snow with almost 2 feet across northwestern Arkansas on February 9th, 2011.  Because of this huge snow, the town of Gravette received a whopping 30.7'' of snow that month with much of that falling on the 9th.

It was a dry, powdery snow too which made for fantastic sledding and even snow skiing across the hills of west Little Rock.

What happened the next morning was nothing short of spectacular and amazing, if you're a cold weather lover!  The absolute perfect combination of fresh snow, clear skies, and no wind set up the next morning for the some of the coldest weather Arkansas and Oklahoma has ever experienced.

The small Oklahoma town, Nowata, dropped to -31°.  That stands as the coldest temperature in the Sooner state's weather history.

In Arkansas, temperatures dropped to around -20° in the northwest.  I'll never forget waking up the next morning and having to pick my jaw up off the ground looking at the observations.

Below are those temperatures and a few pictures I kept from that historic snow and cold.

Here are the official lows from the morning of the 10th.  Yes, that's -21° near Rogers and -18° in Fayetteville.  Look at all the single digits and teens across much of the snow covered areas.

Oklahoma was even colder.  Many locations in northern and northeastern Oklahoma dropped to -10 to -30°
The morning of the 10th in Springdale.

The view of Pinnacle mountain on the morning of the 10th.

The morning of the 10th in Searcy.
Rogers, AR

Springdale on the 9th.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Remembering February 5th, 2008

It's a day none of us will forget. We had an outbreak of 12 tornadoes that day, but 1 made the history books in an extremely tragic way.

It was Super Tuesday and many were voting in the presidential primary.  You may remember former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was on the ballot.  We had our station satellite truck at his campaign headquarters that evening.  Ned, Barry, and I were on the air tracking a classic supercell moving northeast ahead of a squall line of thunderstorms.  That super cell put down an EF4 tornado and it stayed on the ground for a record breaking 122 miles.  Before it hit Clinton, I walked up to our news director and told him we needed crews to head to Clinton and the town was about to sustain major damage.  That's when he called the crew with the satellite truck and we abandoned primary coverage.  They immediately went to Clinton.  As the squall line finally made it to Little Rock, we recorded an official 67mph wind gust which still stands as the 6th highest wind gust ever recorded at the Little Rock airport and the highest for the month of February. 

These series of radar images show the base reflectivity on the left and the velocities on the right.  The hook echo is plain as day and the couplet is very strong on the velocity panel as it hit Atkins.

The tornado moved just south of Scotland and was taking aim on Clinton.  This is when I told our news director Clinton was in deep trouble and would likely sustain major damage.

The tornado hitting Clinton
The tornado began to take aim on Mountain View
Mountain View getting hit and it was rated EF4 here.

It was a classic set up with cells ahead of a squall line.  Anytime this happens, the cells in front are able to get out on their own and spin.
The squall line moving into central Arkansas with record wind gusts.
From Dusty Norris.  The tornado as it hit Atkins.
As the tornado left Atkins and moved northeast.

Mountain View sustained EF4 damage.

Windows blown out of this car and huge piece of wood slicing through the windshield.  This is 1 of the many reasons why you should never be in a car during a tornado

I took this picture in Atkins the next day.
There were several other smaller tornadoes that day as well and most of the state was in a "High risk" for severe weather.
The severe weather outlook that day from the Storm Prediction Center.  It was a rare, high risk day for much of the state.