Arkansas Weather

Arkansas Foresty Commission Issues Burn Ban Alerts

Jan 21, 2014
Arkansas Forestry Commision

The Arkansas Forestry Commission has issued burn bans for 19 counties, and the entire state is at moderate risk of wildfires.

Pulaski, Faulkner, Garland, and Van Buren are among those under the ban, after more than 500 acres burned in Arkansas over the holiday weekend

"Even if folks are not under burn bans, it is a really bad time to be burning because of the low humidity and high wind," says Adriane Barnes, with the Forestry Commission."

She says the dead trees and plants leftover from the winter storms are fuel to potential fires.

 

Freezing rain and sleet are possible in parts of Arkansas as a wintry storm system makes its way through the state A winter weather advisory is in effect from 6 p.m. Wednesday until noon Thursday for the northern two-thirds of Arkansas.

The National Weather Service says the system will begin as rain Wednesday morning before transitioning to a wintry mix. 

Forecasters say central Arkansas will likely see rain or sleet, while northern Arkansas is expected to see snow and sleet.

The state Department of Emergency Management says 13 Arkansas counties are included in a federal disaster declaration requested following a winter storm in early December.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Monday it will make public assistance grants available to communities for emergency work to repair or replace facilities that were damaged in the storm.

Counties included in the order are Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Marion, Newton, Polk, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Sharp and Van Buren.

storms
Associated Press

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.

Governor Mike Beebe is seeking a federal disaster declaration that would make 15 Arkansas counties eligible for federal aid to help area recover from wintry weather earlier this month.  Beebe says he's seeking a major disaster declaration for Crawford, Franklin, Independence, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Marion, Montgomery, Newton, Polk, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Sharp, and Van Buren counties.   

Forecasters say much of Arkansas is at risk Saturday for severe weather, including tornadoes, while other areas could see flash floods from heavy rainfall.

The Storm Prediction Center says Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi and eastern Texas are at risk for severe thunderstorms, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes Saturday.

Forecasters say severe weather is most likely in southeast Arkansas in areas south and east of De Queen and West Memphis.

Frank Burggraf
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

As many as 60,000 homes and businesses in Arkansas were without power at one point this past weekend because of the winter storm.

Above-ground electrical transmission and distribution lines are vulnerable to failure from heavy wet snow, dense ice and high winds.

Some advocates say it’s time to move those lines underground.  But that is much more expensive and many utility customers don't want to pay higher electric bills.

Jacqueline Froelich with Fayetteville station KUAF has a look at the debate.  You can hear her report above.

The Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Pulaski County Special School Districts are closed Monday.

UALR will open at noon. Pulaski Tech is closed. UCA's inclement weather policy is in effect.

All UAMS college classes start at noon and the inclement weather policy is in effect for UAMS non-essential employees.

Governor Mike Beebe reports state employees will operate on a two-hour delay today.

The City of Little Rock plans to open all city offices at noon.

Sleet, freezing rain and snow fell across Arkansas Friday, leading to slippery and slushy roadways and power outages in many areas. The National Weather Service says temperature will continue to drop and the likelihood for more icy precipitation will linger into the weekend.

“We will see low temperatures [Friday night] in the central Arkansas area between 10 and 17 degrees,” says NWS Meteorologist Jeff Hood.

More than 37,000 homes and businesses are without electricity as a wintry storm hits the state.

Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark reported about 12,000 outages Friday morning, while SWEPCO had more than 11,000 outages in northwest Arkansas in Sebastian, Polk, Scott and Logan counties. Oklahoma Gas and Electric reported an additional 2,000 outages in Fort Smith, 1,200 outages in Charleston and more than 1,100 in Lavaca.

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