By Waymon Cox
Greetings from Crater of Diamonds State Park!
With several days of cold weather and even a few light snow flurries in recent memory, many of us are already wondering what kind of winter we are in store for. By taking a look at weather records from last winter and comparing them with recent trends, we may get an idea of what to expect in the next few months.
The weather has already turned cold this month, but winter in our part of the world won’t officially begin until Dec. 21. On this date, the Northern Hemisphere will be tilted farthest away from the sun, bringing on colder temperatures until spring returns.
Daytime temperatures during winter in Arkansas are fairly mild, but the nights can be downright cold! The average high temperature last winter was around 56 degrees Fahrenheit, while lows averaged around 35 degrees. Temperatures dropped below freezing on 41 days, compared to only 32 days of freezing temperatures during winter 2016-17.
From late December through January, temperatures averaged around 38 degrees. Tuesday, Jan. 16 was the coldest day of the season, with a high of 23 degrees and a low of only five degrees! Temperatures warmed to nearly 50 degrees on most days in February and into the mid-50s in March.
Winters in Arkansas are also typically wet. Last winter at the park, it rained more than 29 inches over 33 days. More than 21 inches fell in February alone, making it the wettest month of the season.
We have already experienced colder, wetter weather in the last few weeks. Since Oct. 15, temperatures have averaged around 51 degrees, and there have been more than nine days of below-freezing temperatures at the park. Nearly nine inches of rain fell on the diamond search area in October, and more than five-and-one-half inches have already fallen this month. However, this trend may not continue. According to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, we should expect a decrease in rainfall through December and equal chances of above, near, or below-normal averages for temperatures and precipitation this winter.
Weather plays a big role in how many diamonds are found at the park each year, and which methods of searching are more likely to be successful. Although we don’t know for sure what kind of weather we’ll have at the Crater of Diamonds over the next few months, we will be ready to share in the excitement of visitors who brave the cold to find their own diamonds!
Search area last plowed: Aug. 31
Most recent significant rain: Nov. 18
100 points = 1 carat
Nov. 13 – Stefany Metcalfe, Poolville, Texas, 18 pt. white
Nov. 14 – Stefany Metcalfe, Poolville, Texas, 7 pt. yellow
Nov. 16 – Jack Pearadin, Murfreesboro, Ark., 7 pt. white, 63 pt. white
Nov. 17 – Robert McDonald, Cedar Park, Texas, 7 pt. white; Austin & Brandy Lavite, Alton, Ill., 33 pt. white; Phillip Huff, Bluffton, S.C., 10 pt. white; Dave Rhodes, New Orleans, La., 7 pt. white; Robie McCarty, Springdale, Ark., 6 pt. white
Nov. 19 – Robert McDonald, Cedar Park, Texas, 26 pt. white
Nov. 20 – Kenny & Melissa Oliver, Rosston, Ark., 3 pt. white, 9 pt. white, 23 pt. white; Melissa & Kenny Oliver, Rosston, Ark., 7 pt. yellow