How Dry Is It?
Abnormally Dry Conditions
At times, below normal precipitation will lead to a lack of ground water and worsening drought conditions in Arkansas. Check out the latest conditions below.
 
Monitoring Drought in Arkansas
 
Drought Status
 
Moderate (D1) conditions were identified in portions of northeast Arkansas on 12/16/2014.

Moderate (D1) drought conditions existed across northeast Arkansas in mid-December, 2014.

 
Drought Conditions (Percent Area)
Category Coverage
None 49.84%
D0-D4 50.16%
D1-D4 10.61%
D2-D4 0%
D3-D4 0%
D4 0%
In the picture: Moderate (D1) conditions were identified in portions of northeast Arkansas on 12/16/2014.
 
 
It was about as dry in the northwest, but well above normal rain hit during the first two weeks of October. Even with the rain, yearly rainfall deficits (through November) were still more than eight inches in some cases. This included El Dorado (Union County), Fayetteville (Washington County) and Texarkana (Miller County).

 

Precipitation in November, 2014
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 2.50 4.23 -1.73 59%
Harrison (NC AR) 2.08 4.23 -2.15 49%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 1.89 4.90 -3.01 39%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 1.58 4.44 -2.86 36%
Little Rock (C AR) 2.19 5.28 -3.09 41%
West Memphis (EC AR) 2.47 4.95 -2.48 50%
Texarkana (SW AR) 3.12 4.82 -1.70 65%
El Dorado (SC AR) 3.11 4.89 -1.78 64%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 3.15 4.83 -1.68 65%

 

Precipitation in 2014 (Through November)
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 36.44 45.27 -8.83 80%
Harrison (NC AR) 38.95 40.94 -1.99 95%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 41.36 43.33 -1.97 95%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 39.83 42.17 -2.34 94%
Little Rock (C AR) 44.97 44.78 +0.19 100%
West Memphis (EC AR) 46.90 46.81 +0.09 100%
Texarkana (SW AR) 32.56 44.60 -12.04 73%
El Dorado (SC AR) 37.70 47.74 -10.04 79%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 40.21 45.71 -5.50 88%

 

Percent of normal precipitation in 2014 (through November).
In the picture: Percent of normal precipitation in 2014 (through November).

 

Drought conditions as of 12/16/2014.
In the picture: Drought conditions as of 12/16/2014.
 

Widespread drought was as close as the central and southern Plains. Without continued periodic precipitation, drought could spread slowly to the east into Arkansas.

 

Developing Drought?

If precipitation fails to become substantial during the winter/early spring, a more widespread drought would certainly follow. Also, considering we are going from long-term neutral conditions (near normal water temperatures near the equator in the Pacific Ocean) to a weak El Niño (warmer than normal water), that also raises some concerns. The last time this happened was in 2004/2005, and a major drought unfolded.

 

Drought outlook through March, 2015.
In the picture: Drought outlook through March, 2015.
 

The drought situation will be monitored closely in the coming weeks. The going forecast calls for drought to not become much of an issue across the state through March, 2015.

Drought has been a common theme locally since 2010. The southwest has fared the worst, with just short of a five foot (58.70 inches) rainfall deficit at Texarkana (Miller County) in a four year span (through 2013).

 

Precipitation Statistics (2010-2013)
Site 2013 +/- 2012 +/- 2011 +/- 2010 +/-
Fayetteville (NW AR) 46.63 -1.88 34.29 -14.22 56.15 +7.64 42.15 -3.87
Harrison (NC AR) 45.26 +1.12 29.53 -14.61 52.01 +7.87 46.12 +0.92
Jonesboro (NE AR) 52.42 +4.32 33.57 -14.53 58.05 +9.95 32.22 -13.96
Fort Smith (WC AR) 47.05 +1.59 33.94 -11.52 46.56 +1.10 35.27 -8.60
Little Rock (C AR) 52.78 +3.03 42.25 -7.50 60.23 +10.48 36.52 -14.41
West Memphis (EC AR) 54.47 +2.24 39.08 -13.15 55.95 +2.37 51.83 -0.97
Texarkana (SW AR) 45.34 -4.31 32.07 -17.58 30.69 -18.96 29.53 -17.85
El Dorado (SC AR) 47.49 -5.43 44.41 -8.51 37.62 -15.30 34.23 -19.88
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 52.66 +1.51 45.69 -5.46 48.70 -2.45 31.97 -20.51

 

There were some drought breakers along the way, such as a deluge from mid-November to mid-December, 2011.

 

Twelve to more than eighteen inches of rain was measured from Mena (Polk County) to Mount Ida (Montgomery County), Russellville (Pope County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Jonesboro (Craighead County) and West Memphis (Crittenden County). Thirty day rainfall through 600 am CST on 12/11/2011.
In the picture: Thirty day rainfall through 600 am CST on 12/11/2011.

 

Hurricane Isaac was just off the coast of Louisiana at 425 pm CDT on 08/28/2012.

Hurricane Isaac brought much needed rain to southern and eastern Arkansas in late August, 2012. Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) had 8.39 inches in the forty eight hour period ending at 700 am CDT on September 1st.

In the picture: Hurricane Isaac was just off the coast of Louisiana at 425 pm CDT on 08/28/2012.

 

In September, 2013, areas from Little Rock (Pulaski County) southward got two to four inches of rain, with locally over six inches on the 19th/20th. Some of these amounts exceeded what would normally be expected during the entire month. This busted a short term extreme (D3) drought that peaked just a few days prior to the rain.

 

Precipitation Trends

 

Streamflow and Soil Moisture
 
Most recent streamflow (values in the 25th to 75th percentile are normal)
Most recent soil moisture (values between 30 and 70 percent are normal)

 

Fire Danger

 

The Forecast

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