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 northeast Arkansas on 01/27/2015.

Moderate (D1) drought conditions existed across northeast Arkansas in late January, 2015.

 
Drought Conditions (Percent Area)
Category Coverage
None 65.75%
D0-D4 34.25%
D1-D4 16.37%
D2-D4 0%
D3-D4 0%
D4 0%
In the picture: Moderate (D1) conditions were identified in northeast Arkansas on 01/27/2015.
 
 
Seventy two hour (three day) precipitation through 400 pm CST on 01/03/2015.
In the picture: Seventy two hour (three day) precipitation through 400 pm CST on 01/03/2015.
 

2015 started with plenty of rain. On January 1st through the 3rd, many locations got in excess of two inches of rain, with reports of four plus inches. Seventy two hour amounts through 400 pm CST on the 3rd included 4.40 inches at De Queen (Sevier County), 4.16 inches at Mount Ida (Montgomery County), 3.72 inches at Russellville (Pope County), 3.49 inches at El Dorado (Union County), 2.84 inches at Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and 2.76 inches at Texarkana (Miller County).

Interestingly, while much of the region benefited from the rain, the northeast (where drought existed) did not. In general, there was less than an inch of rain in the northeast.

Before the rain, it was very dry in December, and this elevated drought concerns. Rainfall deficits were over two inches in the southeast half of the state. This included Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Texarkana (Miller County) and West Memphis (Crittenden County). Yearly deficits were over ten inches in some cases, especially in the southwest.

 

Precipitation in December, 2014
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 2.64 3.24 -0.60 81%
Harrison (NC AR) 2.25 3.20 -0.95 70%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 2.79 4.77 -1.98 58%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 2.31 3.29 -0.98 70%
Little Rock (C AR) 3.16 4.97 -1.81 64%
West Memphis (EC AR) 2.18 5.42 -3.24 40%
Texarkana (SW AR) 2.68 5.05 -2.37 53%
El Dorado (SC AR) 3.33 5.18 -1.85 64%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 1.20 5.44 -4.24 22%

 

Precipitation in 2014
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 39.08 48.51 -9.43 81%
Harrison (NC AR) 41.20 44.14 -2.94 93%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 44.15 48.10 -3.95 92%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 42.14 45.46 -3.32 93%
Little Rock (C AR) 48.13 49.75 -1.62 97%
West Memphis (EC AR) 49.08 52.23 -3.15 94%
Texarkana (SW AR) 35.24 49.65 -14.41 71%
El Dorado (SC AR) 41.03 52.92 -11.89 78%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 41.41 51.15 -9.74 81%

 

Percent of normal precipitation in 2014.
In the picture: Percent of normal precipitation in 2014.

 

Drought conditions as of 01/27/2015.
In the picture: Drought conditions as of 01/27/2015.
 

Widespread drought was as close as the central and southern Plains. If substantial precipitation fails to materialize during the remainder of the winter/early spring, drought could spread slowly to the east into Arkansas. Also, 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). The last time this happened was in 2004/2005, and a major drought unfolded.

 

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

The drought situation will be monitored closely in the coming weeks. The going forecast for the state calls for drought to persist or worsen and become a little more widespread through April, 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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