Weather Blog: April 2021 monthly review

Weather Blog

A look back at the weather in NW Arkansas & the River Valley in April 2021!

April showers bring May flowers and Mother Nature certainly delivered this year. April 2021 brought us everything from snow and cold to severe weather and warmth.

Temperatures

April was cool for NW Arkansas and the River Valley. Fayetteville’s daily average temperature came in at 55.7°F for April, which is below average by 1.1°F (average = 56.8°F). This puts April 2021 as the 24th coldest April on record for Drake Field.

The warmest high for Fayetteville last month was 85°F on April 26. The lowest temperature occurred on April 21 when the temperature dropped to 25°F. Fayetteville dropped below freezing a total of five times throughout the month.

The River Valley’s daily average temperature was more than 2°F below average for April at 59.3°F (average at Fort Smith Region Airport = 61.6°F).

April 2021 will go down as the 24th coldest out of 139 years of record-keeping in Fort Smith. The warmest high in Fort Smith was 85°F on April 26 and the coldest low was 31°F on April 21. Fort Smith recorded two nights with temperatures below freezing last month.

Colorful sunset across NW Arkansas on April 29, 2021. Image: Pamela Ausmus

Precipitation

Did April 2021 seem a little soggy to you too? No wonder! Fayetteville (Drake Field) recorded 6.63″ of rain last month, which is more than 2″ above our typical rainfall for April of 4.57″. The rainiest day was on April 28 when 2.48″ of rain fell at Drake Field. Fayetteville had two days where 1.00″ of rain or more fell.

In the River Valley, we received over 7″ of rain last month! Fort Smith recorded 7.29″ for the entire month, almost 3 inches above normal. An average April brings 4.30″ of rain to Fort Smith and the River Valley. The wettest 24-hour period for Fort Smith was on April 28 when 3.06″ of rain was recorded. Fort Smith recorded three days where at least 1.00″ of rain fell.

April Snow & Late Season Freeze

Snow lovers received a pleasant late-season treat from Mother Nature this year. A large weather system brought cold temperatures to NW Arkansas and the River Valley as a storm system passed over the area. The result……..snow in April!

The snow was confined to NW Arkansas but many in Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Boone, and Newton counties received 0.5-1.5″ of wet, slushy snow. Temperatures in the River Valley were too warm, resulting in cold rain.

While it’s certainly not the biggest snowstorm we’ve seen, this storm will still be something many will remember for a long time.

Severe Storms & Flash Flooding on April 28

The morning of Wednesday, April 28 was quite eventful for those of us in NW Arkansas weather-wise, particularly Benton County. As storms rolled in during the early morning hours, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a tornado warning for Adair County, Oklahoma.

This storm produced an EF-1 tornado just outside Stilwell, OK and moved into SW Washington County.

As the cell moved northeast and over Lowell, a storm chaser caught video of a possible tornado moving through the area. Arkansas Storm Hunters chaser Frankie caught this video from his car as the storms passed over.

Video from Arkansas Storm Hunters chaser Frankie on the morning of April 28, 2021 in Lowell, AR.

In addition to the severe weather, flash flooding was a major problem in Benton County when over 6-inches of rain fell in 2-hours. Cars traveling during the morning rush became stranded, prompting swift-water rescues.

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