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
 
Drought conditions were absent across Arkansas on 06/02/2020.

There was no drought in Arkansas to begin June. Next Page Update: July 3

 
Drought Conditions (Percent Area)
Category Coverage
None 100.00%
D0-D4 0%
D1-D4 0%
D2-D4 0%
D3-D4 0%
D4 0%
In the picture: Drought conditions were absent across Arkansas on 06/02/2020.
 
As of June 4th, there was a low wildfire danger and no burn bans posted.
 
 
Drought conditions as of 06/02/2020.
In the picture: Drought conditions as of 06/02/2020.
 

Across the country, moderate to extreme drought (D1 to D3) conditions continued mainly from western Kansas and the Texas panhandle westward to portions of the central and southern Rockies and the Pacific Coast.

Drought was not an issue in Arkansas because of widespread and prolonged wet weather. In May, five to more than ten inches of rain was common across much of the state. At Waldron (Scott County), there was a staggering 16.18 inches of precipitation (just under the record of 17.75 inches in 2015). Mountain Home (Baxter County) had 14.95 inches (shattering the record of 11.87 inches in 1946), 13.32 inches was observed south of Mount Ida (Montgomery County), and Booneville (Logan County) got 13.20 inches. This was three to four months of liquid in four weeks. Along the Mississippi River, May totals were actually below average by one to three inches. In the far southeast, less than two inches of rain fell at Eudora (Chicot County), Portland (Ashley County), and Rohwer (Desha County).

 

Precipitation in May, 2020
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 7.54 6.04 +1.50 125%
Harrison (NC AR) 7.76 4.69 +3.07 165%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 5.35 4.61 +0.74 116%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 6.23 5.47 +0.76 114%
Little Rock (C AR) 6.04 4.87 +1.17 124%
West Memphis (EC AR) 2.58 5.24 -2.66 49%
Texarkana (SW AR) 7.75 5.09 +2.66 152%
El Dorado (SC AR) 5.60 5.05 +0.55 111%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 4.73 5.05 -0.32 94%

 

For the year so far (through May, 2020), amounts were five to more than ten inches more than usual at many locations. Surpluses of liquid were highest in west central Arkansas (the Ouachita Mountains).

 

Precipitation in 2020 (Through May)
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 27.70 20.21 +7.49 137%
Harrison (NC AR) 26.33 18.00 +8.33 146%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 28.13 21.28 +6.85 132%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 27.12 19.19 +7.93 141%
Little Rock (C AR) 30.73 21.90 +8.83 140%
West Memphis (EC AR) 28.63 24.19 +4.44 118%
Texarkana (SW AR) 31.55 20.62 +10.93 153%
El Dorado (SC AR) 30.95 22.98 +7.97 135%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 29.91 23.20 +6.71 129%

 

Departure from average precipitation in December, 2019.
In the picture: Departure from average precipitation in December, 2019.
 

From the fall into the winter of 2019, there was a moderate to severe drought (D1/D2) briefly in southwest Arkansas following a very dry (and hot) September and an even drier December.

 

It was wet to very wet across much of Arkansas in 2019.
Precipitation  |  Departure From Normal  |  Percent of Normal
In the pictures: It was wet to very wet across much of Arkansas in 2019.
 

However, drought really never had a chance to gain momentum in 2019 because the sky opened way too much. There was a surplus of precipitation by more than a foot at Fayetteville (Washington County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Harrison (Boone County), Jonesboro (Craighead County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), and West Memphis (Crittenden County).

 

Precipitation in 2019
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 65.26 48.51 +16.75 135%
Harrison (NC AR) 56.98 44.14 +12.84 129%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 65.89 48.10 +17.79 137%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 67.50 45.46 +22.04 148%
Little Rock (C AR) 60.46 49.75 +10.71 122%
West Memphis (EC AR) 73.86 52.23 +20.63 141%
Texarkana (SW AR) 51.53 49.65 +1.88 104%
El Dorado (SC AR) 60.64 52.92 +7.72 115%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 63.96 51.15 +12.81 125%

 

During the summer (June through August), the NMME (North American Multi-Model Ensemble) calls for wet weather from the upper Midwest to the southeast states (including Arkansas).
In the picture: During the summer (June through August), the NMME (North American Multi-Model Ensemble) calls for wet weather from the upper Midwest to the southeast states (including Arkansas).
 

Looking ahead, the forecast calls for more of the same. From June through August, an active pattern is expected (more than the typical isolated to scattered summer thunderstorms). It looks wet from the upper Midwest to the southeast United States (including Arkansas).

 

Drought outlook through August, 2020.
In the picture: Drought outlook through August, 2020.
 

Data is showing big slugs of moisture and significant rainfall at times. Tropical systems could also be a factor, and may add to an already wet outlook. Given this, there are concerns about flash flooding, overflowing rivers, muddy fields, and struggles for those with agricultural interests. While drought will likely remain an issue west of the region, it should not be much of a concern around here.

 

Precipitation Statistics (2014-2018)
Site 2018 +/- 2017 +/- 2016 +/- 2015 +/- 2014 +/- Total +/-
Fayetteville (NW AR) 46.63 -2.15 51.22 +2.71 33.37 -15.14 65.71 +17.20 39.08 -9.43 -6.81
Harrison (NC AR) 47.78 +3.64 40.89 -3.25 35.41 -8.73 62.64 +18.50 41.20 -2.94 +7.22
Jonesboro (NE AR) 67.80 +19.70 46.07 -2.03 52.56 +4.46 64.53 +16.43 44.15 -3.95 +34.61
Fort Smith (WC AR) 54.17 +8.71 47.96 +2.50 31.18 -14.28 73.93 +28.47 42.14 -3.32 +22.08
Little Rock (C AR) 71.41 +21.66 47.27 -2.48 56.12 +6.37 61.23 +11.48 48.13 -1.62 +35.41
West Memphis (EC AR) 55.49 +3.26 46.64 -5.59 53.02 +0.79 49.04 -3.19 49.08 -3.15 -7.88
Texarkana (SW AR) 54.95 +5.30 50.03 +0.38 49.33 -0.32 63.54 +13.89 35.24 -14.41 +4.84
El Dorado (SC AR) 58.98 +6.06 46.70 -6.22 61.64 +8.72 59.94 +7.02 41.03 -11.89 +3.69
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 76.83 +25.68 50.80 -0.35 54.38 +3.23 51.31 +0.16 41.41 -9.74 +18.98

 

In recent years, when the rain stopped coming and very dry conditions developed, it was a short term worry. Drought breakers such as a deluge from mid-November to mid-December, 2011 took care of the problem.

 

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 drought stricken areas of the south and east 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.

The southern half of Arkansas dealt with a moderate to extreme drought (D2 to D4) in October, 2015. Very dry air and heat in the middle of the month made conditions worse. On the 15th, Little Rock experienced the hottest October day on record when the thermometer showed 98 degrees. Fast forward to the wettest November in recorded state history, and the drought was erased.

 

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