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What's the weather like in Bella Vista, Arkansas?


When we moved from Joplin, Missouri the weather in October of 2002 the tempature was in the 70's...for two days.  Then it began to rain and we didn't see the sun again for three weeks!  Finally, the sun came out, and the temperature once again climbed into the 70's.  Two weeks later it was in the 30's.  Everyone told us that if we didn't like the weather, just wait a minute and it would change.  Funny, that's what everyone told us when we lived in Joplin, Missouri, and when we lived in Kansas City, Missouri.  It's what I was told when I moved to Dallas, Texas from Akron, Ohio when I was fresh out of College.  Guess Hawaii is the only place on earth where you can count on knowing what the weather will be tomorrow.  But who can afford to live in Hawaii??  Although weather prediction has become a true technological science, it's still not an exact science and still often unpredictable. 

The winter of 2003 in Bella Vista (our first) had us thinking that we should have moved further south.  There were three snowfalls with 6" - 8" of snow each time, and two of them hung around for more then a week.  One was gone the next day, which is the norm for snow around here I've been told.  I even got to build a snowbear (my idea of a snowman).   Sadly (or happily depending on how you look at it) he didn't last long.  The very next morning he was leaning backwards staring at the sky as if to plead to the good Lord to keep him from melting.  Alas, by 5:00 that evening he was nothing but a big dirty snowball.  The next day it got up to 60 degrees! 

That was in January 2003.  Early Feb. we had some beautiful weather, but by the end of Feb. it was 22 degrees with 8 inches of snow on the ground again.  It was NOT a normal winter so I did some searching the net and came up with the monthly average temperature chart below so you can get an idea of the weather norms throughout the year.

WEATHER UPDATE 2006 - This was the warmest and the driest winter on record here in Northwest Arkansas for over 100 years!  We only ran our fireplace 3 evenings.  Finally did have a snow though, and I was able to sled down my hill...been waiting to do that since I purchased a sled at a garage sale the summer after our first winter when we had a 20" snow (2003).) 

WEATHER UPDATE 2009 - Global warming is taking it's toll!  We've had more over 90 degree days this summer then I can ever remember, and with all the trees and lakes humidity has been high too.  The Winter was extremely mild.  I was only able to sled one day down our hill (and the 40 pounds I've put on since quitting smoking in 2005 made that not nearly as enjoyable as it once was, I'm sorry to say).  We did have a rare spring icy snow storm, which trapped many in Bella Vista indoors for a few days and kept some without power.  By far the worst of the ice storm whet south into Springdale and Fayetteville though, causing much tree damage and widespread power outages. 



Forget this Winter...write it off!  Don't even read this if you're moving here to get out of the snow!

For the first time since we've been here (and the same said of people I've talked to who've been here for 20+ years we had really cold and really snowy days, and too many of them!  One snowfall was over 20" in places and that was on top of a 8 - 10" snowfall the week before that was hardly melted.  We also had record cold, as the picture of our thermometer on the deck attests to.  Of course, the rest of the country was also in a deep freeze, but do you think that made us feel any better? 

One nice thing though...less then 8 days after that 20" snowfall there was no snow to be seen anywhere and the temperatures were in the 60s.  And the day proceeding the cold front that brought the snow was a 78 degree day in FEBRUARY!  Welcome to Bella Vista!

Not to be outdone by the 2011 winter weather, 4 days in spring brought over a foot of rain in some area's.  The rains quickly filled the low lying flood plains causing three valley golf courses to be shut down until bridges along the cart paths could be inspected and bringing scores of people out to take pictures and video of the swollen creeks and flooded low lying areas.  Fortunatly no homes were in the path of the high waters and no one was injured but damage to some of the Village's  infrastructure may turn out to be quite expensive!

Notice the man on the other side of the river taking pictures?

SUMMER 2011 - not to be outdone by unusual weather in the winter and spring of 2011, summer of 2011 came in with the sun blazing!  Early June weather saw day after day of weather in the high 80s and into the 90s with equally high humidity.  It's not been a usual year at all, believe me.  Hopefully it's just a fluke year and will get better as the year goes on. 




Month Avg. High Avg. Low Mean Avg. Precip. Record High Record Low
Jan 44F 22F 33F 2.23 in. 76F (1950) -15F (1977)
Feb 50F 26F 38F 2.52 in. 86F (1996) -18F (2011)
Mar 59F 35F 47F 4.42 in. 88F (1963) -12F (1948)
Apr 68F 43F 56F 4.17 in. 90F (1987) 16F (1957)
May 76F 53F 64F 5.23 in. 93F (1998) 27F (1954)
Jun 83F 62F 73F 5.19 in. 103F (1953) 40F (1983)
Jul 89F 66F 77F 3.17 in. 114F (1954) 45F (1971)
Aug 89F 64F 76F 3.35 in. 107F (1964) 44F (1956)
Sep 81F 57F 69F 4.74 in. 103F (2000) 45F (1949)
Oct 71F 45F 58F 3.59 in. 95F (1953) 18F (1993)
Nov 57F 35F 46F 4.81 in. 82F (1978) 5F (1976)
Dec 47F 26F 37F 3.50 in. 78F (1951) -15F (1989)

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Gosh, I sure hope not!  Better do some research on that question....Be right back 

(long pause)

Found It! 

Benton County Tornadoes 
1954 - 1995

Date Size  Fatalities/Injuries
March 25, 1954 F1 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
May 16, 1960 F1 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
Mar 12, 1961 F1 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
June 12, 1964 F1 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
June 12, 1964 F1 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
April 30, 1965 F1 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
June 01, 1968 F2 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
April 30, 1970 F1 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
June 11, 1970 F3 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
Oct. 08, 1970 F3 0 deaths, 4 injuries
Nov 19, 1970 F2 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
May 01, 1973 F2 0 deaths, 4 injuries
May 26, 1973 F0 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
May 9, 1974 F1 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
April 18, 1975 F1 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
June 12, 1977 F0 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
May 7, 1978 F1 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
May 12, 1978 F1 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
Mar 14, 1990 F0 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
Oct 28, 1991 F0 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
Apr 24, 1993 F0 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
Oct 8, 1993 F0 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
Oct 8, 1993 F1 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
Oct 8, 1993 F0 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
Oct 8, 1993 F2 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
May 13, 1995 F0 0 deaths, 0 Injuries
May 13, 1995 F0 0 deaths, 0 Injuries

The list above covers from 1954 -  1995.  Since then other tornado's have touched down in Benton Country but still with no recorded fatalities.  I've done some extensive searching but have found no mention of any serious tornados in Bella Vista.

The catastrophic tornado which hit Joplin, Mo on May 22, 2011 killing 153 people and causing widespread destruction to homes and businesses (www.joplintornadophotos.com) alike was 55 miles due North of Bella Vista, Ar .  Joplin is mostly flatland.

It does appears, historically, that serious tornados do not like the high hills and valley torain of the Ozark foothills which is exactly where Bella Vista sits.  Serious tornados often rouch down in the flatlands East, North and South of us, but few in the Ozark hills which run across most of Northern Arkansas.

While there are no guarentees that the hills and valleys of Bella Vista are protection against the tornados, but I can find no record of a serious tornado ever hitting Bella Vista, or of any deaths ever being caused by Tornado in Bella Vista.  If anyone finds differently, I'd like to know about them.

That being said, I still highly recommend that the appropriate actions to protect oneself be taken at the sign of severe weather approaching.  A slight chance does not mean no chance and one must never think in absolutes and if weather is anything at all, it has proven to, more often then not, unpredicable!

It's for this reason that I think we need to push the City Council to approve a Tornado warning system for Bella Vista, AR.  Bentonville has one that can be heard in parts of Bella Vista, but to be sure everyone is warned of severe weather we need a system of our own.  So write to your city government at 416 Town Ctr Bella Vista, AR 72714-1817  (479) 876-1255

My thanks to the Weather Channel and The Tornado Project .


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