LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — 2022 in Arkansas was another year filled with extreme weather. The state saw an above average year for both tornadoes and snowfall. From snow and ice to tornadoes and heat, 2022 will have its place in the Arkansas weather history books.
Arkansas had 39 tornadoes in 2022, just above the average of 37. There were three major winter weather events in January and February...and even a March snow. As ranked by the KATV Weather Team, here are the top seven biggest weather events for Arkansas in 2022:
The first substantial severe weather event of the year began to unfold on Sunday, March 6. During this event, one supercell thunderstorm developed over western Arkansas and produced four tornadoes.
A few other tornadoes were produced over the course of the event into the early morning hours on March 7. In total, eight tornadoes were spawned. The strongest was an EF2 in Izard County that resulted in five injuries.
The supercell that developed on the afternoon of March 6 tracked from near Mena towards the northeast across north central Arkansas.
Before reaching Izard County, a highly visible EF1 tornado was produced near Augsberg in Pope County. Numerous photos and videos were received when the tornado was in Pope County.
Less than a week after severe storms and tornadoes struck Arkansas, temperatures turned sharply colder. This set the stage for a March snowstorm.
While snow in March is not uncommon in Arkansas, widespread accumulating snow in the entire state after the first week of March certainly is.
Temperatures warmed into the 40s and 50s in advance of the snow, but once precipitation began on the afternoon of March 11 it quickly turned to snow.
Snow fell for nearly five hours at most locations across Arkansas. Road issues were confined to north Arkansas where temperatures were the coldest.
Across central Arkansas, two to four inches of snow piled up on everything except the roads. This was an overachieving snowfall, with many locations across the state seeing more than two inches of snow.
At North Little Rock, this was the largest single day March snowfall on record (with records since 1975). At Little Rock, this March snow was the eighth largest on record and the highest single day March snowfall total since March 1984. Nearly every corner of the state observed snow falling at some point.
Summer began with hot temperatures across Arkansas and temperatures stayed hot through July. The first 100 degree days occurred in June, but July proved to be the hottest month since the summer of 2012.
Little Rock recorded 12 days with a temperature of 100 or hotter and had the most 97 degree days in a month since August 2007. The 100 degree days in June 2022 ended a lengthy streak of no 100 degree days at Little Rock during the summer months.
The hot conditions led to a rapid expansion of moderate and severe drought conditions. The hot and dry month contributed to grass and brush fires during the month. The drought conditions would continue well into the fall.
July was mainly hot and dry, but on the morning of July 3rd a localized and major flash flood event unfolded in Union County and surrounding areas in south Arkansas. This was arguably the worst flash flood event of the year.
7 to 14 inches of rain fell over the course of a few hours. Moro Bay State Park in Bradley County set a rainfall record with over 11 inches of rain in a single day.
Rain chances were scarce in the region until the last few days of the month.
There was a snow event in January and an ice event in late February, but the largest and most impactful winter storm season unfolded on February 2nd.
Most of north Arkansas saw between 4 to 10 inches of snow.
In central Arkansas, precipitation types switched between a mix of freezing rain, sleet, and snow. Little Rock received 2.1 inches of mostly sleet and some freezing rain.
This winter storm led to icy travel across most of Arkansas for a couple of days. In central Arkansas, roads were covered with sleet well into the morning of Feb. 4.
Snowfall amounts were heaviest in north Arkansas where several locations received between 10 and 12 inches of snow. An ice storm was seen across parts of western, eastern, and southeast Arkansas. The highest freezing rain amounts were near half an inch.
The largest tornado outbreak since May 2013 unfolded across Arkansas on the evening of November 4th. Storms developed in Texas and Oklahoma and produced numerous tornadoes as they moved into Arkansas.
One of the strongest tornadoes of the evening was a brief EF2 that struck near East End in southeast Saline County. The tornado downed trees and power lines and heavily damaged a few homes. Sixteen tornadoes were spawned along with numerous reports of straight line wind damage.
April usually will have at least one round of significant severe weather. April 11th kicked off a week of multiple rounds of severe weather where over 150 reports of severe weather were received.
The most significant round of storms came on April 11th and was only from a few storms that moved from west to east across the state during the evening hours. Four tornadoes were spawned, including an EF1 in southern Faulkner and northern Pulaski counties.
The main story from the supercell thunderstorms in April was the incredible amounts of hail. A few storms produced hail greater than baseball size, but these storms also produced high amounts of hail over the course of their life cycles.
Large hail greater than golf ball size was common in most of the storms and fell at multiple communities from western into central and eastern Arkansas. A few communities that saw very large hail were Russellville, Dardanelle, Conway, Mayflower, Benton, Cabot, and Des Arc.
By early December it became apparent that extreme cold would be possible later in the month. An arctic cold front moved through Arkansas just before Christmas bringing extremely cold temperatures and a round of light snow. These temperatures were the coldest statewide since February 2021 and the coldest in the month of December since 1989.
Temperatures fell 30 to 40 degrees within hours of the arctic front moving through the state on Dec. 22.
Light snow fell in the northern half of the state and led to icy road conditions from Little Rock northward.
Some locations in north Arkansas received 1 to 2 inches of snow that remained on the ground by Christmas Day. It was the first white Christmas for parts of Arkansas since 2012.
The cold was extreme. Many locations saw single digit lows with wind chills that were well below zero.
Little Rock dropped to a low of 2 degrees on the morning of Dec. 23. The minimum wind chill reached negative 20. This was only the 2nd time since 1990 that Little Rock reached a wind chill of 20 below zero.
Busted pipes became a problem in many homes due to the extreme cold. Many locations across Arkansas experienced subfreezing temperatures for 36 to 72 hours.
For the second time in two years, Little Rock dropped to a temperatures of 2 degrees or colder. The extreme cold experienced in December was comparable to the extremes felt in February 2021, just without the high amounts of snowfall.
As always, Arkansas experienced a number of extremes and wild swings this year. 2023 is certain to bring us more crazy Arkansas weather moments. The KATV Weather Team will be here for every big event.
From all of us here at KATV, thank you for trusting us.