June 2023 Ouachita National Forest, AR Hailstorm

June 2023 was a record month for hail in Arkansas. While hail reports are generally well reported in urban and residential areas, it is more difficult to understand impacts in remote portions of the forest. This particular hail storm from mid-June, 2023 struck the Ouachita National Forest northwest of Lake Ouachita in northern Montgomery County.  Elsewhere in the state, golf-ball to much larger hail stones were reported, and that seems likely to have been the case here. The severity of the crown damage is evidenced by the persistence of this canopy disturbance through the rest of the growing season. That is, it was more than early season leaf stripping as in June, deciduous trees tend to refoliate with NDVI recovery during July.

In the first, regional map below, note the broad grey departure northwest of the hail track in Yell County. This may be a different abiotic or biotic summer 2023 disturbance that is under review. To the east, the industrial logging areas are shown as blocky 1-year increases (dark blue) and declines (red/purple) declines in NDVI.