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Our List of the Most Significant Weather Events in Recent Memory

As one of the hottest and driest summers on record begins to wind down, we thought we’d take a look back at some other significant weather events that have happened in our area over the last 20 years.

 

1994 Ice Storm

On the afternoon of February 8th, an arctic cold front moved into the ark-la-tex with temperatures plunging 60 degrees within 48 hours in many locations. On the 9th, up to four inches of ice and sleet fell on the area causing wide spread power outages and damages to many homes and businesses from falling trees. Two fatalities occured due to accidents on the icy roads. The storm ended up causing $50 million dollars worth of damage around Miller and Bowie counties. It moved out of the area and over the next few days crippled the southeast portion of the United States all the way into the Carolina’s, claiming nine lives and causing an estimated 3 billion dollars in damage.

Here are some videos from area’s affected by the 94 ice storm.

 

1998 Texarkana Flash Flood

Between midnight and 4:30 PM on May 28th, a record rain fall of over 10 inches fell over Texarkana with six inches falling that day between 11am and 2pm. As a result, flash flooding occurred across the city with cars stranded and stalled in flooded underpasses.

    • On the Texas side; A 21 year old woman was critically injured when her car was swept off a road into a drainage ditch. Roughly 500 residents were evacuated from their homes including 50 residents of a nursing home.

 

  • In Arkansas, a portion of US Highway 82 washed out, a private dam broke causing a county road to be closed. The County Judge declared a local disaster and the Red Cross set up emergency shelters.

The flooding caused an estimated $1.1 million dollars worth of damage.

 

1999 Dekalb Tornado

On May 3rd, 74 tornado’s touched down in Oklahoma and Kansas marking the worst tornado outbreak in history. The most notable of these was the one that hit the southern suburbs of Oklahoma city, a massive F5 twister that was on the ground for 38 miles and claimed 36 lives.

On the 4th, as the afternoon temperatures heated up, it was our area that was under the gun as several tornados touched the ground in six North East Texas counties.

Just after 3pm, with sirens wailing, the residents of Dekalb hunkered down and held on to each other for safety as a twister tore though their town. It took out two downtown city blocks and almost demolished the high school and elementary school as students huddled for safety inside. The winds from the tornado were roughly 183 mph. Fortunately, nobody in DeKalb was killed although 17 were left wounded. The damage from the tornado ended up being roughly $125 million according to NOAA reports.

The Dekalb High School was almost completely destroyed. Photo: Courtesy of FEMA

 

2000 Ice Storms

Round #1 – On December 12th, an arctic airmass spilled southward out of the central plains and into the lower Mississippi Valley. This cold airmass was overrun by a warm and humid airmass and created a mixture of freezing rain, sleet and snow across the region. Accumulations of 2-6 inches were common around NorthEast Texas and SouthWest, Arkansas and over 235,000 people were without power for up to two weeks.

Round #2 – As the area struggled to clean up from the first ice storm, another round of frozen precipitation hit the ark-la-tex again on Christmas day dropping up to six inches of freezing rain. Tens of thousands of trees and power lines, many already weakened by the ice from earlier in the month, broke or fell from the weight of the ice leaving thousands of residents without power for weeks. To make matter worse, an additional 3-6 inches of snow (7 in some areas of SW Arkansas) fell over the area on New Years Eve. Utility crews from 23 states were brought in to help restore power. Several utility workers were killed due to coming in contact with downed power lines hidden under the ice and snow.

Power Lines Severely Damaged Along Stateline, AVE. Photo: John Shea, FEMA

More FEMA Photo’s from the 2000 Ice Storm

 

2008 Spring Storm Outbreak

In the Spring of 2008, numerous storms hit the region. One right after another. The worst of these were:

Straight line winds snapped or uprooted large trees which fell on businesses and homes causing $2M worth of damage around New Boston on March 3rd as storms pushed through the area.

On March 31, Texarkana was pummeled by hail which was up to baseball size in some places. The hail damage ended up costing over $150M in and around Texarkana. Many car dealerships inventory were deemed a total loss from the hail.

April 10th saw an F2 tornado touch down for 6 miles and cause over $1M worth of damage to homes and businesses north of Leary on I-30.

May 22nd, two severe thunderstorms came together just south of downtown Texarkana and caused large trees to be uprooted onto homes and cars in the Glendale Subdivision. Near 24th Street and Woodlan Cemetery, trees were knocked down due to a microburst. On the Texas side of  Stateline Ave  trees were uprooted or snapped as well. All of Miller County was considered a disaster area after the storm. City and county officials estimated 44 homes sustained major damage and at least 100 damage reports were collected. Only one minor injury was reported.

 

2008 Tropical Storm Ike

What was left of Hurricane Ike passed through the area on September 13th, 2008 resulting in widespread trees and power lines downed throughout Bowie and Miller Counties as well as power outages across the region. SWEPCO reported that 187,000 customers were without power which was the second most number of power outages in their history (the first being the ice storm of 2000). Additional power companies were called in from as far away as Indiana and Michigan to help deal with the numerous power outages.

 

Are there other major weather events we’ve left out that you remember?

Don’t forget, you can get weather information 24 hours a day on our weather page!

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