Arkansas Weather

National Weather Service

Temperatures in Arkansas are expected to swing from well above average to well below average after a powerful cold front moves through the state. After reaching a high near 70 degrees in Little Rock on Monday, John Lewis, senior forecaster with the National Weather Service, says temperatures Tuesday are expected to be cold enough to bring a wintry mix to the area.

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After months of relatively dry weather, parts of Arkansas are now seeing an increased threat from wildfires. The National Weather Service says burn bans have been put in place as the wildfire danger has been going up, primarily affecting the southern half of the state. 

An example of a farmer harvesting soybeans.
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Storms associated with Hurricane Barry are posing problems for Arkansas farmers. Agricultural officials had concerns that heavy rain and winds would damage rice crops, but are now more concerned about damage to soybean crops. Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, says weather over the weekend was not as damaging to rice crops as originally feared.

National Weather Service

The remnants of Hurricane Barry are forecast to move into Arkansas on Sunday. Agriculture officials are concerned the heavy rainfall could be detrimental to the state’s rice crop, which has already been hampered by a wet spring and recent hot weather.

Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, says the crop is extremely vulnerable at this point and that rain could disrupt pollination. 

Storm
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Utility crews are working to restore electricity in central and south Arkansas after a powerful storm hit the state Wednesday night quickly bringing down trees and power lines. Damage is extensive in some areas and Entergy Arkansas warns it could be a few days before power is back on for all customers.

The National Weather Service says the highest wind speed was measured at 64 miles-per-hour, but Meteorologist Sean Clark says tree damage suggests winds exceeded that in some locations.

American Red Cross flooding shelter
Christina Fowler / American Red Cross

With the Arkansas River back below flood stage, the American Red Cross is refocusing its efforts to help victims of the massive flood. Spokeswoman Christina Fowler says the group is closing its final shelter in the state, which is in North Little Rock, on Wednesday at 9 a.m. Two others, located in Fort Smith and Conway, shut down over the weekend. She says that although the shelters are closing their doors, the group will continue working to help.

Flood Toad Suck Arkansas River
KATV-Channel 7

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says four more counties in Arkansas have been approved for disaster assistance as a result of damage from storms and flooding that began May 21.

Heavy rains produced record flooding in the state, especially along the Arkansas River.

FEMA announced that Arkansas, Desha, Logan and Pope counties have been added to a list of eight counties previously approved for federal assistance. The other counties are Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian and Yell counties.

Jefferson County Judge Gerald Robinson
KARK-TV

Forced to close businesses and evacuate homes after already-significant flood damage, residents of Jefferson County are bracing themselves for the cresting of the Arkansas River. The National Weather Service forecasts the water level to reach a near record-breaking 51 feet in Pine Bluff Thursday night, marking the river’s highest crest since 1943.

Arkansas River flooding
Wes Goodner

Officials with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and several counties across Arkansas are continuing to deal with challenges brought by the flooding of the Arkansas River. On Wednesday the river seemed to be cresting in Little Rock at a height of 29.7 feet. Melody Daniel, a spokeswoman with the ADEM, says more rain forecast in central Arkansas could extend the length of time the river crests, but it’s not expected to go higher.

Picture of a tractor on a farm
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While a rainy spring and summer as well as flooding along the Arkansas River has impacted farmers, it has also affected agricultural research in the state. The Agricultural Experiment Station, a part of the The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research and Extension, has several research stations located across the state. 

Flood Toad Suck Arkansas River
KATV-Channel 7

State emergency officials say the Arkansas River has topped two levees in Arkansas, where historic flooding has inundated some communities.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Emergency Management says flood waters overtopped a levee in Toad Suck, a community about 27 miles northwest of Little Rock. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the levee protects nearly 300 people.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park
File Photo

A greater than average amount of rainfall in Arkansas has led to flash flooding and other hazards in the state. It also could lead to potentially risky hiking conditions in state parks.

Pine Bluff tornado
Bill Wingand / KATV-TV

Forecasters have confirmed a small tornado touched down in central Arkansas, damaging two apartment complexes and injuring four people.

The National Weather Service said a twister with winds between 86 and 110 mph lasted for less than a minute Wednesday evening when it hit Pine Bluff.

Meteorologist Thomas Jones says the tornado was about 100 yards wide and traveled for only about a quarter of a mile, but still managed to damage the brick facing and roof of the apartments. Jones says at least two walls caved in.

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Arkansas is expected to get a break from an unusually wet winter, but it may not be enough of a break for farmers.

Some Arkansas counties have received two to three times their average amount of rainfall over the last six months. The frequent and heavy rains have made it difficult for many farmers to work their land. Rice Agronomist Jarrod Hardke with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service says the return of cold weather could offset any relief from the rain.

National Weather Service

Heavy rains are predicted throughout the week for much of Arkansas. According to the National Weather Service, the eastern part of the state could see as much as 8 inches of total accumulation over the next several days.

"What this is likely to cause is prolonged issues with the rivers," said Brian Smith, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service. "We are expecting continued river flooding, especially along the White River, the Black River basin, as well as the Cache River. We could see some flash flooding issues in places as well."

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