Arkansas Winter December 10, 2022
by Melanie Johnson It Was So Cold In Arkansas In 1983, Temperatures Stayed Below Freezing For Over 10 Days
Arkansas isn’t known for having brutally cold weather. In fact, our winters are fairly mild with below average levels of snowfall, but occasionally, nature will throw us some curveballs. During those brutal winters, the state experienced major blizzards, ice storms, and more. And one of the coldest winters in Arkansas happened in 1983. The temperatures were so low that the Arkansas River froze over. For over 10 days, the entire area was crippled by the freezing temperatures. Let’s step back in time to relive these treacherous conditions.
Perhaps you’re old enough to remember the Ice Storm of 1983. It began on December 19th, where central and southern Arkansas received 2 to 3 inches of snow as well as heavy freezing rain that blanketed the region.
Additionally, the temperature remained below freezing for over 10 consecutive days.
This extreme arctic blast impacted Little Rock, Fayetteville, and the surrounding areas.
The temperatures were so cold that it caused rivers, lakes, streams, and ponds to freeze over.
It’s not every day you witness the Arkansas River freezing, so it was certainly a site to see. The ice was so thick that it was possible to walk or skate on top of the surface.
During the days of the freeze, the lowest temperature was 0 degrees on Christmas day. And some have reported that the wind chills got as low as 40 to 50 degrees below zero. Talk about blistering cold!!!
***Please note the above image is not from the ice storm of 1983***
In addition to the arctic blast, there was also snowfall that led to a white Christmas.
As pretty as it was, the entire area was in crisis, and the treacherous weather crippled the region. Many residents lost power due to system overload as well as from downed trees and electrical wires.
Additionally, some residents got stuck on the roads and had to abandon their vehicles due to the icy conditions.
Furthermore, schools were closed because it became too difficult to travel as well as the temperatures were unsafe for children and faculty.
And unfortunately, there were also numerous tragedies due to the extreme weather.
However, some made the best of the situation and rode ATV’s as well as went sledding on the frozen rivers and ponds.
Believe it or not, this was not the worst storm in Arkansas’ recent history. There were others that included the ice storm in January 2009, where 1 to 3 inches of ice covered the northwest region of the state.
Over the years, Arkansas has been crippled by snow and ice storms, but thankfully, those extreme conditions are few and far between. But we will always remember one of the coldest winters in Arkansas.
What do you remember about the Ice Storm of 1983 ? We would love to hear from you, so share your memories in the comments below.
And if you would like to read more about extreme weather conditions, here’s an article about more Horrific Winter Storms in Arkansas .
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