Showers and thunderstorms will dump 3 to 4 inches of rain on central and southwest Arkansas through Thursday, possibly causing flash flooding in some areas, according to the National Weather Service in North Little Rock. One- to 3-inch amounts are expected across the rest of the state.
A light rain began midday Monday in Northwest Arkansas and a chance of rain was in the forecast through Wednesday night, but the region was projected to receive less rain this week than central and southwest Arkansas.
The ominous forecast in central Arkansas prompted the Little Rock School District to postpone outdoor graduation ceremonies for Parkview and Central high schools that were scheduled for today at War Memorial Stadium.
"This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution due to the impending threat of severe weather, and following ongoing consultation with the National Weather Service and local forecasters," according to the School District.
Instead of having graduation ceremonies today, Parkview's ceremony will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at War Memorial Stadium, followed by Central's ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the same location.
Jeff Hood, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the storms should be out of the state in time for a Thursday morning graduation ceremony, but a light rain could linger.
"The bulk of the rain is likely going to be east of the Mississippi River by 7 a.m. on Thursday," he said. "The heavy rain threat will be well east of the area by that time, but there could be a lingering threat of drizzle and light rain Thursday morning."
School District officials will continue to monitor weather developments and provide an update by noon today regarding Wednesday's graduation ceremonies for Hall High School and Little Rock Southwest.
All ceremonies will be livestreamed on on the district's YouTube Channel -- www.lrsdlive.com.
Flash flooding is possible, and rivers will be on the rise, the Weather Service said in its Monday briefing.
On Monday afternoon, the White River in east Arkansas was at minor flood stage at Clarendon, Des Arc and near Augusta. The Black River was at minor flood stage at Black Rock. The water level in those rivers had declined slightly since Thursday. No other Arkansas rivers were at flood stage on Monday afternoon.
Hood said the recent whiplash in temperatures is somewhat normal for spring in Arkansas.
On Saturday, high temperatures across the state were in the 80s and 90s, he said. After a cold front moved through that night, Sunday morning lows were in the upper 40s and 50s across much of Arkansas.
Hood said some records were set on Sunday for the lowest high temperature for May 22. Those records included North Little Rock, where the high of 63 on Sunday broke the previous record of 66 on May 22, 1990; Harrison, where the high of 59 on Sunday broke the record of 60 on May 22, 1979; and Russellville, where the high of 64 on Sunday broke the previous record of 67 in 1892.