The year of 2013 was marked by cooler temperatures and normal amounts of severe weather in Arkansas. That’s according to an annual report released by the National Weather Service. Although late snowfalls in the northwest, deadly flash flooding in the west, drought in the southeast and 34 tornadoes did enter the picture, Meteorologist John Lewis of the NWS says last year was relatively mild.
He points to the cooler than average spring and summer experienced through the state.
“It was like the 98th warmest summer on record where if you look at 2012, 2011 and 2010—those were all in the top 20,” he says.
He says many areas had record cool temperatures in the spring. “You had record cool springs in several locations such as Brinkley, Harding, Malvern, Newport, Searcy and Subiaco—most of these in northern and western Arkansas,” he says.
Some of those cities’ springtime temperatures broke records reaching back to the 1890’s.
Drought also affected much of Southeast Arkansas, but has since subsided after recent rainfall.
“Probably the peak of it was in mid-September where they had an extreme drought,” he says, noting that the Southeast reached D3 status, which is the third worse classification of drought. The severity of the drought paled in comparison, however, to the widespread drought Arkansas experienced in 2012.
Lewis also called the early May snowfall experienced the northwest part of the state “unprecedented.” Until that point, there hadn’t been any snow recorded in Arkansas in 2013. In previous years, the latest recorded snowfall fell on April 30th.
"We looked back through the records and we really couldn’t find anything that showed that we had snow that late in the year,” Lewis says.
Arkansas also saw 8 fatalities from flash flooding and tornadoes over the past year. Among those who died were a Scott County Sherriff and a Fish and Wildlife Officer. The two attempted to rescue two women from flash flooding near their Y City home last May. The two women also perished.