3rd Biggest Weather Event of the Decade
#3) Christmas 2012 snowstorm/blizzard
There were so many records broken by this rare storm. The day started cold and windy with persistent sleet and freezing rain. The trees in central Arkansas received a heavy coating of ice. By late in the afternoon, the ice changed to snow and it was heavy. 10-15 inches fell across portions of central and western Arkansas. The combination of ice, wind, and heavy snow caused devastation to trees and power lines. At one point, more than 250 thousand lost electricity and it took 7 + days to restore all of it.
It did become an official blizzard for northeast Arkansas and the first time a "blizzard warning" was issued by the Little Rock National Weather Service office. The highest snow total was in the town of Perry in Perry county. An incredible 17.5'' of snow fell. Here's a list of the records...
-The 10.3 inches which fell in Little Rock was the most for a 24 hour period in the month of December.
-The 9.0 inches which fell on December 25th was the 8th most snow to fall in a calendar day in Little Rock.
-The 10.3'' on the 25th and 26th was the 6th most in history for a 24 hour period in Little Rock.
-It was the snowiest Christmas Day ever in Little Rock shattering the previous record.
My personal story of that day...
I was scheduled to do Daybreak on Wednesday morning the 26th so I went to bed around 9 PM on Christmas Day. I woke up at 12:30 to look out the window and my jaw dropped to the floor. My backyard was plastered in a coat of white I have never seen before. It was beautiful as the snow continued to fall and the winds howled. I thought to myself that we'll be lucky to keep power. By 1:30 the electricity went out and I knew I would have to begin my journey into work. Driving in the snow is no big deal to me since I did it in Missoula, Montana for 2.5 years. This was not going to be an easy commute in so I got moving right away. I told my wife to snuggle the kids up because I thought it would take a few hours for the power to come back on... boy was I wrong about that. Anyway, turns out the commute into work was going to be impossible. Trees down on the roads blocked my way out of the neighborhood. I called the station and photojournalist, Chato Wilson, jumped in his news car and met me a half mile down the road. That walk I will NEVER forget. I work out at the gym 5 days a week, but that still didn't prepare me for that hike. The snow was almost 10'' deep and drifts were higher. Add the wind and bitter wind chills, it was a struggle to climb a hill and make it to his car. Once I got into the station, I started to realize power wasn't coming back on anytime soon at home. I only had a limited amount of firewood to keep my family warm. Once I got home from work, I built a fire and moved our king size mattress into the living room next to the fireplace for everyone to sleep. We couldn't go to my moms, brothers, or sisters house since they were in the dark as well. That first full night we managed to keep somewhat warm as the temperature in the living room held around 60 degrees with the fireplace lit. The next day I had to figure something out since the firewood supply was low and my infant son, Preston, had a cold and it was getting much worse. Coincidentally, my wife's cousin was a guest at Good Morning Arkansas that morning on Thursday the 27th. He lives in Guy and offered to bring a bunch of firewood down. I said heck yeah!!! Family is the best huh? I offered to pay for the rick of wood, but he refused. He made the trip back to Guy and to Little Rock again just for us. Also, a very good friend of mine, Kyle, had lost power at his house in Maumelle. He was lucky and it was restored within 24 hours. He took off from work to go get his generator and brought it over to my house. He connected it to a huge space heater and put it in the master bedroom. HEAT! We got it close to 70 in there. With the new firewood, the temperature in the living room made it to 64 degrees. We were set. I called my mom and sister and told them to come over. This storm may have caused a ton of destruction, but it also turned out to be a blessing in disguise in my opinion. It brought a lot of us together and created many memories. That's what family and friends are all about... helping each other in a time of need. Even though we know we can count on friends and family, it's heart warming to actually see it happen and that's how we and many of you are getting through it.