(KFSM) — 2019 was a busy year filled with weather ranging from snow to major flooding. Here's a look back at the top weather stories of 2019.
The first snow of the year fell on January 19th. Fort Smith picked up 1” of snow while only one-half inch fell in Northwest Arkansas. This would end up being the heaviest snow of the year with 4-6” falling in the River Valley from Greenwood to Booneville.
By February, the light snow trend could continue with another light round of winter weather both early and late in the month. While amounts remained small… traffic problems developed along I-49 with light snow falling as well as light sleet and snow in Fort Smith.
The winter weather would continue into March causing an early month snow day across Northwest Arkansas. Winter would quickly change to Spring as severe thunderstorms developed later in the month dropping more frozen precipitation but this time as large hailstones which piled up on roofs and yards.
Tornado season would carry us into April with several severe weather events during the month; including an EF1 tornado on April 30th in Summerfield, Oklahoma.
Our first tornado outbreak of the year would occur on May 18th with tornadoes in Charleston, Mulberry, Prairie Grove, Greenwood, Fort Smith.
The Fort Smith tornado would cut a 5-mile track across the city with winds over 100mph and rated an EF1.
The tornado threat would quickly shift to flooding. An endless streak of supercells in Green Country would set an Oklahoma state record with 147 tornadoes. The excessive rainfall all drained into the Arkansas River Basin would cause the worst flood on the Arkansas River in recorded history.
The Arkansas River in Fort Smith would reach 40-point-seven nine feet. Bridges spanning the Arkansas River into Fort Smith would close, levees would be breached and hundreds of homes were flooded, including the entire town of Moffett, Oklahoma.
Barges broke loose and sunk on the Arkansas River at Muskogee due to the extreme current and volume of water.
June would be a quieter month in Arkansas 19th Massive Arkansas hailstone.
By August, heavy rain and more flash flooding would once again dominate weather headlines. The flooding in Fort Smith lead to one fatality and an investigation into the 911 response.
October would turn into one of the busiest months of the year. First, on the 6th, flash flooding blocked roads leading to Northwest Arkansas National Airport and led to several water rescues in Benton County.
Later that month on the 21st, one of the widest tornadoes in-state record would track across the heart of Benton County. The tornado was rated an EF2 with wind speeds in excess of 135 miles per hour, it was one and a half miles wide and on the ground for over 31 miles.
Just 10 days later, October had another surprise. The first snow of the season fell on Halloween sending most indoors or shortening the outdoor trick-or-treating.
Cold would return for the next holiday, on Thanksgiving a cold rain fell across much of the area with a few snow flurries.
December would add more rain to the already soggy year. 2019 ended up being the 3rd wettest on record for Fort Smith and the 5th wettest on record in Northwest Arkansas. Rain totals for the year were nearly two-feet above average with most locations over 60-inches.