National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
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 were noted in northwest Arkansas on 04/11/2017.

There were moderate to severe drought (D1/D2) conditions in northwest Arkansas in mid-April. Next Page Update: May 2

 
Drought Conditions (Percent Area)
Category Coverage
None 44.98%
D0-D4 55.02%
D1-D4 22.47%
D2-D4 4.14%
D3-D4 0%
D4 0%
In the picture: Moderate to severe drought (D1/D2) conditions were noted in northwest Arkansas on 04/11/2017.
 
As of April 14th, there was a low fire danger statewide and no burn bans posted. 
 
 
Drought conditions as of 04/11/2017.
In the picture: Drought conditions as of 04/11/2017.
 

Across the country, a moderate to extreme drought (D1 to D3) continued from eastern Mississippi to the Carolinas, and also in Florida and New England. Similar conditions were found in portions of Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and here at home. Conditions had vastly improved in California after several years of exceptional (D4) drought.

In Arkansas, the first half of April (through the 14th) was dry across the northern half of the state. Rainfall deficits over an inch were common at places such as Fayetteville (Washington County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and Jonesboro (Craighead County). Meanwhile, it was wet in the southwest. Amounts were more than an inch above average at El Dorado (Union County) and Texarkana (Miller County).

 

Precipitation in April, 2017 (Through the 14th)
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 0.77 1.98 -1.21 39%
Harrison (NC AR) 1.28 1.80 -0.52 71%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 0.69 2.17 -1.48 32%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 0.76 1.86 -1.10 41%
Little Rock (C AR) 1.91 2.28 -0.37 84%
West Memphis (EC AR) 1.36 2.01 -0.65 68%
Texarkana (SW AR) 2.98 1.73 +1.25 172%
El Dorado (SC AR) 6.62 1.87 +4.75 354%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 2.57 2.27 +0.30 113%

 

Yearly (2017) amounts through April 14th were at or below par in much of the region except the southwest. Parts of central into southeast Arkansas were short on water by more than three inches, including Little Rock (Pulaski County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), and West Memphis (Crittenden County).

 

Precipitation in 2017 (Through April 14th)
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 10.22 11.58 -1.36 88%
Harrison (NC AR) 10.50 10.79 -0.29 97%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 12.57 13.82 -1.25 91%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 9.33 11.28 -1.95 83%
Little Rock (C AR) 10.78 14.17 -3.39 76%
West Memphis (EC AR) 10.71 15.58 -4.87 69%
Texarkana (SW AR) 14.30 13.32 +0.98 107%
El Dorado (SC AR) 16.74 15.71 +1.03 107%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 11.97 15.49 -3.52 77%

 

Departure from average precipitation in 2016.
In the picture: Departure from average precipitation in 2016.
 

For all of 2016, umbrellas did not come out much in the northwest. Precipitation totals at Fayetteville (Washington County) and Fort Smith (Sebastian County) were over fourteen inches below average.

 

Precipitation in 2016
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 33.37 48.51 -15.14 69%
Harrison (NC AR) 35.41 44.14 -8.73 80%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 52.56 48.10 +4.46 109%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 31.18 45.46 -14.28 69%
Little Rock (C AR) 56.12 49.75 +6.37 113%
West Memphis (EC AR) 53.02 52.23 +0.79 102%
Texarkana (SW AR) 49.33 49.65 -0.32 99%
El Dorado (SC AR) 61.64 52.92 +8.72 116%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 54.38 51.15 +3.23 106%

 

Drought outlook through June, 2017.
In the picture: Drought outlook through June, 2017.
 

Drought relief is expected in the central U.S. through June, 2017. Showers and thunderstorms usually ramp up in the spring, and drought may become less of an issue in areas of Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and northwest Arkansas. Drought may go away in New England as well. In the southeast and also toward the Texas panhandle, drought may stick around or expand.  

Drought has been a common theme locally since 2011. The southwest has fared the worst, with a three to four foot (41.37 inches) rainfall deficit at Texarkana (Miller County) in a five year span (through 2015).

 

Precipitation Statistics (2011-2015)
Site 2015 +/- 2014 +/- 2013 +/- 2012 +/- 2011 +/-
Fayetteville (NW AR) 65.71 +17.20 39.08 -9.43 46.63 -1.88 34.29 -14.22 56.15 +7.64
Harrison (NC AR) 62.64 +18.50 41.20 -2.94 45.26 +1.12 29.53 -14.61 52.01 +7.87
Jonesboro (NE AR) 64.53 +16.43 44.15 -3.95 52.42 +4.32 33.57 -14.53 58.05 +9.95
Fort Smith (WC AR) 73.93 +28.47 42.14 -3.32 47.05 +1.59 33.94 -11.52 46.56 +1.10
Little Rock (C AR) 61.23 +11.48 48.13 -1.62 52.78 +3.03 42.25 -7.50 60.23 +10.48
West Memphis (EC AR) 49.04 -3.19 49.08 -3.15 54.47 +2.24 39.08 -13.15 55.95 +2.37
Texarkana (SW AR) 63.54 +13.89 35.24 -14.41 45.34 -4.31 32.07 -17.58 30.69 -18.96
El Dorado (SC AR) 59.94 +7.02 41.03 -11.89 47.49 -5.43 44.41 -8.51 37.62 -15.30
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 51.31 +0.16 41.41 -9.74 52.66 +1.51 45.69 -5.46 48.70 -2.45

 

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