As I write this, more than 20 thousand are still without power because a severe thunderstorm moved across the Little Rock metro around 3AM Saturday. At the peak, there were more than 60 thousand Entergy customers without electricity. Many of you are getting power back now and probably wondering what happened.
It was not a tornado. It was severe thunderstorm straight line winds estimated from 80 to 90 mph over a large area. In some ways, it can do more damage than a weak tornado and over a larger area. This is just another example why we always encourage you to take severe thunderstorm warnings seriously.
1. Have a way to receive warnings Whether that's WeatherCall 7 or NOAA weather radio.
2. Know when a watch is in effect and have a plan
3. When a severe thunderstorm warning is issued for your area, stay inside and away from windows.
4. If a tornado warning is issued - go to the lowest level, put as many walls between you and the outside, and make sure that room has no windows. It's also important to have something available to protect your head.
Below are videos and graphics explaining what exactly happened Saturday morning.
It's that time of year my buddy, Chad Gardner, calls "stupid hot", but let's put 2018 into perspective. So far this summer, it really hasn't been that bad compared to previous years.
While the actual air temperature will likely stay below 100° today, the heat index will reach 105 to 110° and will likely be the hottest so far this year. You can thank recent rains and the wet ground for that added moisture. It will be dangerous heat for sure!
The NAM (North American Model) at one point had our high temperature reaching 102° today and I didn't buy that. We'll see what happens today, but it has backed off of that. Now it has a temperature Friday of 105°. I don't buy that either. If we did NOT have the rain this week, I would think it's possible. However, the suns energy will go into evaporation. Once again, with all that soil moisture, heat index values will likely get close to 110°.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. A northwesterly wind flow aloft will continue over the next few days. I have learned that as long you are under that type of pattern, never take rain chances out of the forecast. While it won't be constant, storms will be possible over the next few days and probably favoring the northeastern half of the state. That's the area furthest from the hot center of high pressure.
The northwesterly flow will become even more established with the ridge building across the western United States. This will allow a trough of low pressure to develop across the central and eastern United States. A couple cool front will come down this weekend and into next week and beat back the heat. This is remarkable considering late July and early August is typically the hottest time of the year according to the 30 year averages. Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel. After a couple sizzling summer days, we'll go into a cooler than average pattern. This will take us into August with 1 more month of meteorological summer to go. Then we can bring on fall and FOOTBALL!!!!!!
Updated: Jul 17, 2018
At 18 years young, I set off to college with little thought of ever returning to Arkansas. My journey took me to the University of Oklahoma, then to my first TV job in Missoula, Montana. I absolutely loved it there. For a snow lover, a winter with 111 inches of snow was a dream come true. I'll never forget my absolutely perfect weekend up there in spring. I would snow ski on Saturday, then trout fish on Sunday.
After a couple years in the great white north, I had an urge to move up in the wild business of TV weather and I wanted to get closer to home. Not home yet, but closer. I landed a job in Chattanooga, TN. Instead of an all day flight home switching planes usually in Salt Lake City and Dallas, I had a relatively short drive of 7 hours to get home and visit family in Little Rock. The only downside, little snow in southeast Tennessee. During the course of those 6 years in Chattanooga, I met my wife, Andria. Shortly after we got married in 2003, I told her the time had come that I wanted to return home. In just a few short years, I realized how much I missed Arkansas and I especially missed my family.
Growing up watching Little Rock TV weather, I was greatly influenced by Tom Bonner, Vic Shedler, Ken Rainy, Steve Martone, and of course, Ned Perme. Openings in Little Rock came and went for a couple of years, then one finally at KATV. Devon Lucie decided to head to Vegas and I was not about to let this opportunity slip away. I called, begged, and pleaded my case with Ned. I think he and former News Director Randy Dixon got sick and tired of me constantly bombarding them with phone calls, I finally got an interview and then the job. My contract in Chattanooga was up, I worked out a new one in Little Rock, and my wife and I packed up everything in a huge truck and made our journey home in August 2005.
Once you're home and snow appears in the forecast, your phone will blow up. It just happens. I learned that my first winter back home. I decided to start up a weather blog so all my friends and family could read it and stop calling. LOL. That never worked, but I found I enjoyed blogging very much. After a few months, former KATV General Manager, Dale Nicholson, stumbled across it and said, "this is good _". That's "Big Pard"! Through him and the help of others, it was incorporated into katv.com and it took off. Because of all of you, the success over the years has been overwhelming. Almost 8 million hits!
Now the time has come to revamp and improve the Arkansas Weather Blog. I have been working on this for several months on and off. It's still a work in progress so if you see something which needs correcting or you have any new ideas, PLEASE let me know. It's because of YOU this blog has been so successful and I will never forget that.
NEW TO THE ARKANSAS WEATHER BLOG...
For each calendar day, you will be able to check all the climate statistics including averages, records, sunrise, and sunset. Also, you will find a piece of Arkansas weather history and this will be continually updated.
Just click on the day and an information window will pop up on your screen. Hit the "X" in the upper right to close the window.
As you know from last winter, I decided to partner with the great people at "SnowAtHome". There are so many options to make your own snow. More will be added to this section of the blog as we get closer to winter.
Tornado records date back to 1950. In this section of the blog, you will be able to look at all Arkansas tornadoes from 1950 through 2014. The last few years will be added soon. The tornadoes are sorted on different maps according to their rating. Click on the icon and all the specifics will appear on the screen.
Thanks for reading my ramblings and enjoy the NEW Arkansas Weather Blog.