LITTLE ROCK, AR - The National Weather Service (NWS) says last month was one of the coolest Julys on record for Arkansas.
Hot spells for the state have been few and far between this summer.
July 27 was one of the hottest days of the season so far. Temperatures were in the 90s, but it was the heat index that was oppressive. Heat index values topped 105 degrees in much of Arkansas except the Ozark Mountains of the northwest.
Since the beginning of June, just as it starts to feel unbearable, a cold front arrives from the north with relief. These fronts have kept temperatures down, with July readings from three to more than five degrees below normal.
Yet another front barreled through the region late on the 27th and early on the 28th, and promised well below normal temperatures to finish the month.
Daytime readings did not get out of the 70s across the northern and western counties on the 30th. The mercury only reached 70 degrees at Harrison (Boone County) and Mountain Home (Baxter County), and 71 degrees at Fayetteville (Washington County) and Highfill (Benton County).
This is because the front stalled along the Gulf Coast, with moisture and rain increasing north of the front. Rain was heaviest in the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains of the north/west.
Twenty four hour amounts through 700 am CDT on the 31st included 2.29 inches at De Queen (Sevier County), 2.17 inches at Harrison (Boone County), 1.84 inches at Mena (Polk County), 1.82 inches at Lead Hill (Boone County), 1.78 inches at Cove (Polk County) and 1.56 inches at Abbott (Scott County).
It was only in the 60s/70s in much of the region on the 31st with areas of rain continuing, especially in the southern half of Arkansas. Another half inch to an inch and a half was measured in parts of the southwest, including 1.13 inches at Dierks (Howard County). The high temperatures was only 69 degrees at De Queen (Sevier County) and Mount Ida (Montgomery County).
The 70 degree maximum at Texarkana (Miller County) was the second coolest high for July on record. It was a degree warmer than the record established just two weeks prior (on the 18th).
These ridiculously cool conditions kept the state on course to have perhaps the coolest July on record dating back to the late 1800s. This will be determined by the National Climatic Data Center (in Asheville, NC).
Looking ahead, confidence is high that subpar temperatures will continue during the first week of August locally (as well as in much of the country from the Rockies eastward). However, there will be a warming trend, with readings gradually climbing to more normal levels.
On this day in Arkansas weather history:
1962 - 6.24 inches of rain fell at Siloam Springs.
1985 - Highs of 100 to 105 were seen in central portions of the state, and in the Arkansas River Valley.
1986 - Severe thunderstorms in north and central sections broke a heat wave.
2013 - Through the 11th, Several storm systems repeatedly produced heavy rainfall in northern Arkansas. Over nine inches fell in Madison County, with over eight inches at Harrison and Omaha in Boone County. The heavy rains caused flash flooding in some places.