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
 
There was no drought in Arkansas on 07/30/2019.

There was no drought in Arkansas to end July, 2019. Next Page Update: September 6

 
Drought Conditions (Percent Area)
Category Coverage
None 100%
D0-D4 0%
D1-D4 0%
D2-D4 0%
D3-D4 0%
D4 0%
In the picture: There was no drought in Arkansas on 07/30/2019.
 
As of August 13th, there were no burn bans and a low wildfire danger in Arkansas.
 
 
Drought conditions as of 07/30/2019.
In the picture: Drought conditions as of 07/30/2019.
 

Across the country, drought conditions were spotty at most. A moderate to severe drought (D1/D2) was found in portions of the Pacific Northwest, southern Rockies, southern Plains, and the southeast states.

 

The remnants of Hurricane Barry dumped more than a foot of precipitation in parts of southwest Arkansas in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 pm CDT on 07/16/2019.
In the picture: The remnants of Hurricane Barry dumped more than a foot of precipitation in parts of southwest Arkansas in the twenty four hour period ending at 700 pm CDT on 07/16/2019.
 

In Arkansas, it was wet across the southern and eastern counties in July. There was a surplus of liquid by one to more than three inches at El Dorado (Union County), Jonesboro (Craighead County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), and West Memphis (Crittenden County). Rain was excessive (some amounts over fifteen inches) in the southwest in a narrow swath from Nashville (Howard County) and Murfreesboro (Pike County) to Arkadelphia (Clark County) and Prescott (Nevada County). This was mainly due to the remnants of Hurricane Barry in the middle of the month. It was somewhat dry in the north/west. There were precipitation deficits from an inch to two inches in places, including at Harrison (Boone County).

 

Precipitation in July, 2019
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 3.07 3.46 -0.39 89%
Harrison (NC AR) 2.03 3.14 -1.11 65%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 5.25 3.54 +1.71 148%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 3.33 3.30 +0.03 101%
Little Rock (C AR) 2.83 3.27 -0.44 87%
West Memphis (EC AR) 6.84 3.41 +3.43 201%
Texarkana (SW AR) 3.67 3.44 +0.23 107%
El Dorado (SC AR) 5.08 3.56 +1.52 143%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 10.91 3.93 +6.98 278%

 

For the year (2019), there was more than the usual precipitation through the first seven months. Rainfall was above normal by more than ten inches at El Dorado (Union County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Jonesboro (Craighead County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Texarkana (Miller County), and West Memphis (Crittenden County).

 

Precipitation in 2019 (Through July)
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 34.52 28.65 +5.87 120%
Harrison (NC AR) 30.10 25.38 +4.72 119%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 43.73 28.57 +15.16 153%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 38.37 26.77 +11.60 143%
Little Rock (C AR) 40.97 28.82 +12.15 142%
West Memphis (EC AR) 50.21 31.75 +18.46 158%
Texarkana (SW AR) 40.39 28.51 +11.88 142%
El Dorado (SC AR) 46.20 31.44 +14.76 147%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 45.39 30.71 +14.68 148%

 

Excessive rain and river flooding were major factors leading to a lack of planting by farmers in Arkansas this year. The Black, Cache, Ouachita, and lower White Rivers were high to overflowing at times through the spring. Then the Arkansas River reached unprecedented levels in late May and early June. Fields were either under water or too wet for use through much of the beginning of the growing season. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a report on August 12th, and it was mentioned that the state had 1.3 million unplanted (or prevented) acres. This was 5th highest in the nation. Within a couple of days, 44 counties were declared primary natural disaster areas, and 24 neighboring counties were designated as contiguous disaster areas.  

 

It was wet to very wet across much of Arkansas in 2018, especially across central and southern sections.
Precipitation  |  Departure From Normal  |  Percent of Normal
In the pictures: It was wet to very wet across much of Arkansas in 2018, especially across central and southern sections.
 

It was a Top 10 wet year in 2018. The statewide average rainfall was just over 64 inches, which is more than 14 inches above average. Precipitation was at least 20 inches in the plus category at Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County).

 

Precipitation in 2018
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 46.63 48.51 -2.15 96%
Harrison (NC AR) 47.78 44.14 +3.64 108%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 67.80 48.10 +19.70 141%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 54.17 45.46 +8.71 119%
Little Rock (C AR) 71.41 49.75 +21.66 144%
West Memphis (EC AR) 55.49 52.23 +3.26 106%
Texarkana (SW AR) 54.95 49.65 +5.30 111%
El Dorado (SC AR) 58.98 52.92 +6.06 111%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 76.83 51.15 +25.68 150%

 

Drought outlook through October, 2019.
In the picture: Drought outlook through October, 2019.
 

Looking ahead, the majority of long range forecast models are showing a continuation of wet weather to finish the summer and begin the fall. This does not mean it will rain all of the time. Instead, there will likely be more than the usual isolated thunderstorms, and fewer dry spells. If the models are correct, drought should not become much of an issue locally.

From 2014 through 2018, there were several droughts. The south and west fared the worst. Even so, rainfall during this time frame were generally above to well above average.

 

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