The weather may turn nasty through the middle of the week this week, but it will be wet; and, that will be enough to satisfy a lot of folks in Southwest Arkansas.
Although the National Weather Service in Shreveport, La., is calling for the possibility of hazardous weather with the outbreak of storms that should roll into Hempstead County later today, NWS Meteorologist Brandi Richardson said Monday that Hope can expect mainly wet weather through Thursday.
“You guys are far enough north that I don't think you'll get any damaging storms,” Richardson said. “It should be out by Thursday night.”
However, Richardson said another series of storms is expected on the weekend; so, the first round of storms will likely be the precursor to a very wet week. The NWS is predicting 3-5 inches of rainfall across Hempstead County.
“With this event, I'd say rainfall pretty widespread of three to five inches; although, with this kind of system, we sometimes see what we call a 'preferred area,' a corridor that gets a lot more,” she said. “There are some spots up there that got a little more rain in the last couple of weeks; so, you're looking a saturated soil across the area. Drop another three to five inches onto that and you could see some flooding.”
The official hazardous weather outlook for the immediate Hope area issued Tuesday afternoon reflects a concern for flash flooding in some areas.
“Due to the slow movement of this upper trough to our west very heavy rainfall will likely set up across the region Tuesday night through Wednesday night,” the NWS said. “Flash flooding will likely become a concern across portions of the region Wednesday into Wednesday night.”
Richardson said that scenario was the basis for what could be the final nail in the coffin of an extended drought which has plagued Southwest Arkansas for the past two years.
“It does take some time for things to improve,” she said. “But, looking at what has fallen, it will probably have done some good. We may actually be going into a period of too much rain. We're in a very wet pattern right now. It will go a long way toward relieving the hydrologic part of the drought. And, the good thing is that it will help fill our lakes and rivers, again.”
Rainfall totals for the year were significantly below normal in 2012, with 39.80 inches of rain measured at the University of Arkansas Southwest Research and Extension Center at Hope. That was 14.71 inches below the norm for the year. A mere 0.22 inch of rainfall was measured for Hope throughout December, down 4.84 inches from normal.
On the new year, the first week of January has seen 0.81 inch of rainfall, according to SWREC.
Page 2 of 2 - A massive winter storm system that blew into Arkansas with thunderstorms that changed into snowstorms left between one and three inches of snow across Southwest Arkansas on Christmas Day. The SWREC rainfall figures for December did not account for the snowfall.
Hempstead County and Southwest Arkansas felt the first brush of what became a bruising winter weather system for the rest of the state and a large swath of the nation. The NWS reported 1.5 inches of snow accumulation in Hope from the storm, with three inches in Prescott, six inches in Howard County and 8-9 inches in Polk County.