Pine Bluff in 2012 experienced its warmest high temperatures since 1953, according to an annual review of the city’s weather and climate released by the National Weather Service forecast office in North Little Rock on Wednesday.
The NWS reported that low temperatures as well as average temperatures for the year in Pine Bluff were the warmest since 1998, although not warm enough to put 2012 on the list of top 10 warmest years for Pine Bluff.
The report noted that snow during the year was minimal, with a trace falling on Feb. 13 and two inches recorded at the NWS Grider Field reporting station between Dec. 25-26 in last week’s Christmas Day snowstorm.
The NWS reported that the two-inch snowfall total for Pine Bluff is below the 3.1 inch historical average for the area.
The NWS reported that Pine Bluff endured below-average rainfall for the third consecutive year in 2012 but was saved from being one of the top 10 driest years on record because of the heavy rainfall that hit the region courtesy of Hurricane Isaac, totaling 12.41 inches during the three day period from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1
Overall rainfall for the year in Pine Bluff was 45.69 inches, according to the NWS, which is 5.46 inches below normal.
Below-normal precipitation for the month was recorded for January, February, March, April, May, June, October, November and December.
The 2012 total for the affected months was 25.45 inches, compared with average of 42.05 inches for the same period.
As of Dec. 25 Jefferson County showed no drought conditions according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
A swath of counties from far Southeast Arkansas, west toward Union County, then north through Pulaski, Lonoke and Prairie counties, also showed no drought conditions as of Christmas Day.
Large areas of western Arkansas remain under extreme drought condition, however, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The warmer-than-average winter of 2012 was most graphically illustrated by the month of March, which saw the warmest average high since 1918 for the second warmest on record; the warmest average low since 1921 for the warmest on record and the warmest average temperature since 1907 for the warmest on record.
Closing out the year, December recorded the warmest average high since 1983; the warmest average low since 1991 and the eighth-warmest on record; and the warmest monthly average since 1984.
For the year, the average high was the warmest since 1953; the average low was the warmest since 1998; and the yearly average was the warmest since 1998.
The highest temperatures recorded in Pine Bluff for the summer months were: 94 on May 29; 103 on June 28; 105 on July 30; 99 on Aug. 4; and 97 on Sept. 6.
The last freeze was recorded in Pine Bluff on Feb. 20, which is the earliest since 2000; the first 80 degree day came on Feb. 23, which is the earliest since 2005; the first 90-degree day occurred on May 4, which is the earliest since 2006; the last 90-degree day came on Sept. 7 which is the earliest since 1974; and the last 80-degree day came on Nov. 3, which is the earliest since 2010; and the first freeze occurred Nov. 13, which is the earliest since 2010.
The number of days with temperatures at or below freezing in 2012 was 36, which is the fewest since 2005; the number of days with temperatures at or above 90 degrees was 79, which is the fewest since 2009; and the number of days with temperatures at or above 100 degrees was 21, which is the fewest since 2010.