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) drought conditions were identified in a small portion of northwest Arkansas on 03/24/2015.

Drought conditions improved in March, 2015 following a lot of rain. Even so, a small area of moderate drought (D1) conditions persisted in northwest Arkansas.

 
Drought Conditions (Percent Area)
Category Coverage
None 84.74%
D0-D4 15.26%
D1-D4 2.17%
D2-D4 0%
D3-D4 0%
D4 0%
In the picture: Moderate (D1) drought conditions were identified in a small portion of northwest Arkansas on 03/24/2015.
 
 
Precipitation amounts and percent of normal precipitation across Arkansas in March, 2015 (through the 25th).
Precipitation Amounts   |  Percent of Normal Precipitation
In the pictures: Precipitation amounts and percent of normal precipitation across Arkansas in March, 2015 (through the 25th).
 

For four straight months (November, 2014 through February, 2015), precipitation was below normal in Arkansas. Boy, did that change in March. Through the 25th, parts of southwest through central and northeast Arkansas received over seven inches of liquid, which was 150 to more than 250 percent of normal. This included Texarkana (Miller County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and Jonesboro (Craighead County).

 

Precipitation in March, 2015 (Through the 25th)
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 4.42 3.11 +1.31 142%
Harrison (NC AR) 5.62 2.97 +2.65 189%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 7.28 3.73 +3.55 195%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 4.13 3.03 +1.10 136%
Little Rock (C AR) 7.84 3.72 +4.12 211%
West Memphis (EC AR) 4.27 3.95 +0.32 108%
Texarkana (SW AR) 8.86 3.41 +5.45 260%
El Dorado (SC AR) 5.48 3.88 +1.60 141%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 7.85 4.40 +3.45 178%

 

For the year so far, most of the region had at/above normal water. Amounts were a little subpar in parts of the east and also the northwest.

 

Precipitation in 2015 (Through March 25th)
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 7.48 8.76 -1.28 85%
Harrison (NC AR) 9.16 8.17 +0.99 112%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 11.80 10.73 +1.07 110%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 8.74 8.60 +0.14 102%
Little Rock (C AR) 14.65 10.93 +3.72 134%
West Memphis (EC AR) 9.66 12.58 -2.92 77%
Texarkana (SW AR) 16.95 10.80 +6.15 157%
El Dorado (SC AR) 14.13 12.97 +1.16 109%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 14.78 12.22 +2.56 121%

 

2014 ended with below normal numbers pretty much statewide, with yearly deficits over ten inches in some cases (especially in the southwest).

 

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 03/24/2015.
In the picture: Drought conditions as of 03/24/2015.
 

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).

 

In El Niño years (since the late 1970s), there is a strong signal favoring below normal precipitation from east Texas to the Ohio Valley during the spring (March through May).
In the picture: In El Niño years (since the late 1970s), there is a strong signal favoring below normal precipitation from east Texas to the Ohio Valley during the spring (March through May).
 

Usually, this does not bode well heading into the growing season, with a lack of rain during meteorological spring (March through May) in recent El Niño years. However, with a surplus of rain in March (through the 25th), it might not be so dry this year.  

 

Recent El Niño Springs (March through May) in Arkansas
Year Precip (Inches) +/-
2010 12.25 -2.71
2007 9.55 -5.41
2005 9.55 -5.41
2003 11.48 -3.48
1998 12.43 -2.53
1995 14.40 -0.56
Note: Normal spring precipitation for Arkansas is 14.96 inches.

 

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

If a classic El Niño pattern comes to fruition, we may dry out in April/May. This will be monitored closely in the coming weeks. The going forecast for the state calls for no major drought issues through June, 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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