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 to severe drought (D1/D2) conditions existed in portions of southern Arkansas on 08/25/2015.

There were moderate to severe drought (D1/D2) conditions along the Louisiana border, with abnormally dry (D0) conditions across much of southern Arkansas in late August, 2015.

 
Drought Conditions (Percent Area)
Category Coverage
None 55.09%
D0-D4 44.91%
D1-D4 5.64%
D2-D4 0.06%
D3-D4 0%
D4 0%
In the picture: Moderate to severe drought (D1/D2) conditions existed in portions of southern Arkansas on 08/25/2015.
 
 
A large ridge of high pressure ("H") over Arkansas edged to the southwest in the forty eight hour period ending at 07/21/2015.
700 am CDT (07/19)   |  700 am CDT (07/21)
In the picture: A large ridge of high pressure ("H") over Arkansas edged to the southwest in the forty eight hour period ending at 07/21/2015.
 

A ridge of high pressure was dominant from the southern Plains to the central Gulf Coast in July and August. Under the high, there were periods of very hot and dry conditions, with many places experiencing the first 100 degree readings of the summer (especially in late July/early August). At times, the high strayed toward the Rockies, and this allowed cold fronts to edge into Arkansas from the Plains. This resulted in scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms, mainly in northern sections of the state. It was a different story farther south, with not so much rain. In August, parts of the south got less than an inch of liquid. This included El Dorado (Union County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Texarkana (Miller County).

 

Precipitation in August, 2015
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 4.41 3.24 +1.17 136%
Harrison (NC AR) 5.13 3.58 +1.55 143%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 5.62 2.54 +3.08 221%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 4.43 2.59 +1.84 171%
Little Rock (C AR) 0.56 2.59 -2.03 22%
West Memphis (EC AR) 3.93 3.06 +0.87 128%
Texarkana (SW AR) 0.80 2.91 -2.11 27%
El Dorado (SC AR) 0.57 3.11 -2.54 18%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 1.96 2.48 -0.52 79%

 

From July 16th through August 14th, climate district 8 (in the south) only got 0.03 inch of rain. That is less than 1 percent of the normal 3.58 inches. In district 9, 0.46 inch was measured, which is 13 percent of the average 3.64 inches. There are nine climate districts in Arkansas.
In the picture: There are nine climate districts in Arkansas.

 

Twenty four hour rainfall as of 700 am on 08/19/2015 and 08/20/2015.
08/19/2015   |  08/20/2015
In the pictures: Twenty four hour rainfall as of 700 am on 08/19/2015 and 08/20/2015.
 

The most recent relief in the south arrived on the 19th of August. A cold front swept through the area and brought a half inch to an inch and a half of rain to places (and locally more than two inches).

 

Wildfire danger and burn bans as of 08/27/2015 (courtesy of the Arkansas Forestry Commission).
Wildfire Danger   |  Burn Bans
In the pictures: Wildfire danger and burn bans as of 08/27/2015 (courtesy of the Arkansas Forestry Commission).
 

Even after the rain, a moderate wildfire danger still existed on the 27th across central and southern Arkansas. Burn bans were posted in 5 counties.

For the year so far (through August), most of the region had above to much above normal precipitation. Parts of the west had more than a foot of surplus water. Totals were several inches subpar in far east.

 

Precipitation in 2015 (Through August)
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 42.69 31.89 +10.80 134%
Harrison (NC AR) 40.22 28.96 +11.26 139%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 40.09 31.11 +8.98 129%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 49.60 29.36 +20.24 169%
Little Rock (C AR) 37.87 31.41 +6.46 121%
West Memphis (EC AR) 29.31 34.81 -5.50 84%
Texarkana (SW AR) 40.55 31.42 +9.13 129%
El Dorado (SC AR) 36.31 34.45 +1.86 105%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 34.31 33.19 +1.12 103%

 

Drought conditions as of 08/25/2015.
In the picture: Drought conditions as of 08/25/2015.
 

Across the country, the most significant drought issues were in the west. Wildfires were burning out of control. Exceptional drought (D4) conditions continued in California and western Nevada. There were signs of dryness in the southeast United States, with moderate/severe drought (D1/D2) from eastern Texas to the Carolinas.

 

 

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

It appears that the drought in the west will continue in the coming months, with drought also persisting in parts of the southeast. In Arkansas, drought should be short-lived. Improvement is expected this fall as El Niño kicks in and strengthens.

Drought has been a common theme locally since 2010. The southwest has fared the worst, with slightly more than a six foot (73.11 inches) rainfall deficit at Texarkana (Miller County) in a five year span (through 2014).

 

Precipitation Statistics (2010-2014)
Site 2014 +/- 2013 +/- 2012 +/- 2011 +/- 2010 +/-
Fayetteville (NW AR) 39.08 -9.43 46.63 -1.88 34.29 -14.22 56.15 +7.64 42.15 -3.87
Harrison (NC AR) 41.20 -2.94 45.26 +1.12 29.53 -14.61 52.01 +7.87 46.12 +0.92
Jonesboro (NE AR) 44.15 -3.95 52.42 +4.32 33.57 -14.53 58.05 +9.95 32.22 -13.96
Fort Smith (WC AR) 42.14 -3.32 47.05 +1.59 33.94 -11.52 46.56 +1.10 35.27 -8.60
Little Rock (C AR) 48.13 -1.62 52.78 +3.03 42.25 -7.50 60.23 +10.48 36.52 -14.41
West Memphis (EC AR) 49.08 -3.15 54.47 +2.24 39.08 -13.15 55.95 +2.37 51.83 -0.97
Texarkana (SW AR) 35.24 -14.41 45.34 -4.31 32.07 -17.58 30.69 -18.96 29.53 -17.85
El Dorado (SC AR) 41.03 -11.89 47.49 -5.43 44.41 -8.51 37.62 -15.30 34.23 -19.88
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 41.41 -9.74 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.

 

Thirty day rainfall through 600 am CST on 12/11/2011. 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).
In the picture: Thirty day rainfall through 600 am CST on 12/11/2011.

 

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.

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