ARKANSAS, USA — It’s the unofficial start to summer this weekend; the Summer Solstice occurs on June 20. However, the forecast will have a summer-like preview as temperatures rise into the upper 80s and low 90s. Combine that with a lot of humidity, and welcome to the Arkansas steam room.
Since this is the first true taste of summer heat, make sure you drink plenty of water and don’t forget sun protection. A nasty sunburn this time of year can take only 10 to 15 minutes for some skin tones. If you’re on the lake, the UV Index may double because of the sunlight reflecting off the water.
With the summer-time heat and humidity, somewhere in the state there will be a daily dose of pop-up showers and storms.
The severe weather threat is low, but any storm could pulse up, producing gusty winds and small hail. More importantly, watch out for lightning. A storm does not have to be severe to produce a deadly lightning strike. And lightning can travel 10 to 15 miles away from a storm and strike -- even before the rain arrives or when the sun is out. So remember, if you hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to get struck by lightning.
Watch for dark skies on the horizon, a wind shift and stronger breeze, or clouds towering. All of these are signs that the weather is about to change and it may be rapid.
Another reminder is with so much moisture in the atmosphere, storms could produce very heavy rainfall in a short amount of time. This could create drastic changes in smaller creeks and rivers, including the Buffalo River Area. Some rivers are already running high and swift, localized flash flooding is possible.
Here are the levels of the Buffalo River as of Friday evening:
And other river levels around the state.
Don’t cancel any outdoor plans. There will be plenty of dry time for Saturday and Sunday. Monday looks to be a different story.
SATURDAY: A few showers in the morning with a spotty shower or storm developing in the afternoon and evening. Best chance in the Ozarks in NW AR and W AR. Highs in the upper 80s to low 90s.
SUNDAY: A few showers in the morning with spotty to scattered showers and storms popping up through the afternoon and evening. Best chance will be over North and West AR.
MEMORIAL DAY: Mostly cloudy with scattered showers in the morning and scattered to numerous showers and storms firing up through the afternoon and evening.
Stay safe, have fun and enjoy the weekend!