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
 
Please Note: Until drought conditions return, this page will be updated once a month. The next update is scheduled for June 4, 2015.

 

Drought Status
 
There were no drought conditions in Arkansas on 04/28/2015.

By the end of April, 2015, it was abnormally dry (D0) in northwest Arkansas. Otherwise, drought was nonexistent statewide.

 
Drought Conditions (Percent Area)
Category Coverage
None 96.02%
D0-D4 3.98%
D1-D4 0%
D2-D4 0%
D3-D4 0%
D4 0%
In the picture: There were no drought conditions in Arkansas on 04/28/2015.
 
 
Percent of normal precipitation in April, 2015.
In the picture: Percent of normal precipitation in April, 2015.
 

It was very wet across southern Arkansas in April. Much of the south received six to over eight inches of liquid, which was 150 to more than 200 percent of normal. This included El Dorado (Union County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and Texarkana (Miller County).

 

Precipitation in April, 2015
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 2.76 4.57 -1.81 60%
Harrison (NC AR) 2.76 4.32 -1.56 64%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 5.82 5.02 +0.80 116%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 4.29 4.30 -0.01 100%
Little Rock (C AR) 5.43 5.14 +0.29 106%
West Memphis (EC AR) 4.55 5.38 -0.83 85%
Texarkana (SW AR) 8.09 3.94 +4.15 205%
El Dorado (SC AR) 6.12 4.09 +2.03 150%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 7.67 4.93 +2.74 156%

 

For the year so far, most of the region had at/above normal precipitation. Parts of the south had close to ten inches of surplus water. Amounts were a few inches subpar in far east and also the northwest.

 

Precipitation in 2015 (Through April)
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 10.45 14.17 -3.72 74%
Harrison (NC AR) 12.24 13.31 -0.93 92%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 17.97 16.67 +1.30 108%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 13.40 13.72 -0.32 98%
Little Rock (C AR) 20.34 17.03 +3.31 119%
West Memphis (EC AR) 15.48 18.95 -3.47 82%
Texarkana (SW AR) 25.19 15.53 +9.66 162%
El Dorado (SC AR) 21.26 17.93 +3.33 119%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 22.64 18.15 +4.49 125%

 

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 04/28/2015.
In the picture: Drought conditions as of 04/28/2015.
 

We went 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 the late winter/early spring.

 

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. This year, it was not so dry in March/April.  

 

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

It does not look like a classic El Niño pattern will come to fruition in May, with a wet pattern continuing. The going forecast for the state calls for no major drought issues through July, 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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