Thanks to the National Weather Service Office in North Little Rock for providing some of the information below.
10. May 1st Severe Weather
The Storm Prediction Center placed much of the southeast half of the state under a rare, high risk for severe weather. Everyone was on edge due to the outbreak of deadly tornadoes the day before. Barry and Ned were in the weather center and on the air for hours while the WeatherNinja and I decided to chase the storms. Storms fired up all over the place with rotation in many of them. However, most only produced funnels. There were 6 tornadoes across the state with most of them rated EF1. The WeatherNinja and I started our chase in Pine Bluff along with dozens of chasers from across the country including the Discovery Channels "Dominator". We ended up seeing a funnel cloud in southeast Arkansas. We stopped in the town of Gould while a lowering and possible funnel was clearly seen off to the east.
|Apparent wall cloud in the distance from our storm chase. Looking east from Gould.|
|Viewer picture of a wall cloud near Mayflower|
|Traveling behind the Discover Channel's Dominator in Pine Bluff|
9. March 21st Snow
Spring kicked off with a snowstorm for much of western and northwestern Arkansas. Just days prior to this storm, temperatures soared into the 60s and 70s. The brutal winter would have one last laugh. Up to 12 inches piled up in the Fayetteville area. Our own Channel 7 storm chaser and blogger, WeatherNinja, went snow chasing on Rich mountain near Mena. When he arrived, it was almost a blizzard with snow, wind, and low visibility. Check out this chilling video!
8. Late January Snow/Ice
On January 28th and 29th, we had what I like to call an "Arkansas Slushy". Every type of winter precipitation fell across a majority of the state as low level arctic air moved in from the northeast and a storm system from the west brought moisture. The biggest concern was freezing rain and that fell across portions of Garland, Hot Spring, Grant, Arkansas and Jefferson counties causing 30,000 customers to lose power. In the Little Rock metro area, it was sleet. The power stayed on, but roads were horrible as 1-2 inches piled up. Further north the cold air was deep enough for snow. Some locations in northern Arkansas had 12 inches or more by the time this storm system left the state.
|Blake in the sleet. I plan on bringing this picture out on his 16th birthday.|
2009 was the wettest year in Little Rock history, but 2010 was dry. Like I always say, there's nothing normal about Arkansas Weather. Many locations will end 2010 with a large rainfall deficit including Little Rock which is close to 15 inches in the hole. The lack of rain eventually took its toll on the state and wildfires started popping up all over the place during autumn. According to the Arkansas Forestry Commission, more than 32 thousand acres burned. One notable fire occurred in Traskwood (Saline county) on October 10th. I remember looking at the radar and seeing a smoke plume develop. The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said more than 500 people were evacuated. Downwind from the fire, balls of ash fell on neighborhoods.
This video was shot by blogger and Channel 7 storm chaser , Bobby Powers. He's also known as "WeatherClipper"
|Viewer picture of Traskwood wildfire|
|A ball of ash falls downwind of the fire|
6. March 10th Tornadoes
Six tornadoes hit the state on this late winter day. A man died from a tornado in the small town of Pearson in southern Cleburne county. That tornado was rated an EF2. Another tornado injured two people in White county as an EF1 with a path length of 13.24 miles tracked near Center Hill. Another notable tornado that evening was in Saline county. An EF1 tornado tracked from .8 miles south-southwest of Grape to .8 mile northwest of Congo. The path length was 6.12 miles. This tornadic thunderstorm was on a direct path to West Little Rock. While covering the tornadoes with Ned on the air, I'll never forget reaching over for my cell phone, calling my wife, and telling her to take cover. Thankfully, the storm curved a bit to the north and stopped producing a twister.
|Viewer picture of the tornado in Saline county|
5. February 8th Snowstorm
It was suppose to be purely a north Arkansas snowstorm, but the night before I cautioned everyone, while on the news, that one or two degrees means everything between lots of rain and lots of snow. Leading up to the snowstorm, one of the computer models insisted central Arkansas would get clobbered by heavy amounts of snow and it nailed it!
It became obvious around 11 PM on February 7th as some of the biggest sleet pellets I have ever seen started to fall. This was going in the direction of a winter wonderland. By the time the next morning rolled around, 2-3 inches of snow was already on the ground. By the end of the day, Little Rock officially recorded 7.2 inches making it the biggest snow since December of 1988. A few locations across northern Arkansas received up to 12 inches or more.
|One viewer picture of a GIANT snowman.|
4. April 30th Tornado Outbreak
On the night of April 30th, we all watched the radar as a tornadic supercell took aim on Van Buren county and the town of Clinton. This time, the twister just missed the town, but it demolished the small community of Scotland located 9 miles southwest of Clinton.
The tornado tore a 20.28 mile long path and was rated an EF3 with winds of 135-165 mph. There was one fatality and 15 injuries from this storm. Another tornado struck the East End community in Saline county. This storm continued to show strong rotation through Pulaski county. I directed the WeatherNinja into the storm as he streamed live video. Once his video was on the air you could see trees bent over touching the ground along with power flashes. The only words you could hear him say was, "I'm in it." There were a total of 12 tornadoes that day across the entire state.
|Tornado near Scotland April 30th|
|Damage from the EF3 twister|
Unfortunately we had to change the top 10 list as a powerful storm system brought a deadly New Year's Eve to the state. Early in the morning, an EF3 tornado killed 3 people in the small community of Cincinnati in Washington county. This one tornado more than doubled the number of tornado fatalities during the entire year for the state. The severe weather diminished for much of the day, then developed again across the eastern and southeastern counties. One thunderstorm tracked near Star City and produced large hail. It even covered the ground. Check out the pictures below.
|Tornado damage in Cincinnati, AR|
|Sheree King near Star City|
|Lisa Pevey near Star City|
|Photo courtesy of Meteorologist John Robinson of National Weather Service|