Tuesday, August 16, 2016

TOP STORY >> Record rain in August

Leader staff writer

With record rains hitting the area Tuesday, this August is on its way to becoming one of the 10 wettest Augusts in history.

Through Tuesday evening, Little Rock Air Force Base, according to the National Weather Service, had seen 5.59 inches of rain for the month, making it the 12th wettest since base records began in 1956 – and there are still two weeks to go in the month.

The wettest August for the base occurred in 1966 when the area was bombarded by 8.95 inches of rain.

The heavy rains have caused localized flooding on Hwy. 67/167, hydroplaning vehicles, and some power outages.

Little Rock, with 6.41 inches of rain, including almost two inches Tuesday, is the 15th wettest August on record since 1874, but the area only needs 0.37 of an inch more rain to break into the top ten.

North Little Rock, which has been keeping its own records since 1975 has this August as its fifth wettest so far at 6.27 inches.

The average August rainfall is less than two inches and hits the area over a five or six day period. But so far it has rained 12 out of the first 16 days of the month.

The wet August follows a wet July.

With 7.37 inches of rain, this July was the 11th wettest on record, more than three inches above the average amount for the month.

July also ran about three degrees higher than normal with an average high temperature of 95.3 degrees, the high July average in four years and the 10th warmest on record.

The average low temperature for July at 76.3 degrees was also about three degrees above normal, the highest low temperature average since 1998 and the second warmest month of all time in terms of average low temperature.

Seven records were broken for warmest low temperature during July and one day, July 22, it hit a high of 105 degrees, tying the record set back in 1943.

Besides the rain and the heat, July brought some all-time high winds to central Arkansas. On July 14, a wind gust of 68 mph blew trough Little Rock Adams Field, setting a new wind gust record for the month of July.

The forecast for the rest of August calls for heat, humidity and rain including a 50 percent chance of precipitation through Sunday.

For the year, central Arkansas is close to 10 inches above normal average of rainfall.

The near-constant rainfall through August has played havoc with area sports activities, but Sherwood’s first Community Wellness Expo on Saturday was deemed a success. Chamber director Marcia Cook said the expo saw lots of visitors.

“There was a completely full room of a nice variety of vendors, and we had strong attendance from the public. We heard lots of valuable information, saw some demonstrations, got health screenings, and even participated in some fitness activities,” Cook said.