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 were moderate drought (D1) conditions in far Arkansas on 06/28/2022.

There were moderate drought (D1) conditions in far northern Arkansas to end June. Next Page Update: July 15, 2022

 
Drought Conditions (Percent Area)
Category Coverage
None 68.12%
D0-D4 31.88%
D1-D4 1.85%
D2-D4 0%
D3-D4 0%
D4 0%
In the picture: There were moderate drought (D1) conditions in far northern Arkansas on 06/28/2022.
 
 
Drought conditions as of 06/28/2022.
In the picture: Drought conditions as of 06/28/2022.
 

Across the country, moderate to exceptional drought (D1 to D4) conditions continued from the western into the central United States, portions of the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, much of the southeast, and a small part of New England.

 

One hundred forty four hour (six day) rainfall through 700 am CDT on 06/11/2022.
In the picture: One hundred forty four hour (six day) rainfall through 700 am CDT on 06/11/2022.
 

Here at home in June, precipitation was well above average (by more than six inches in places) in parts of western Arkansas. In a six day period ending at 700 am CDT on the 11th, Fort Smith (Sebastian County) received a whopping 10.95 inches of rain, with 6.50 inches at Booneville (Logan County), and 6.27 inches at Waldron (Scott County). Much of the north/east and far south missed out on the deluge, and ended up with subpar rainfall (by two to three inches).

 

Precipitation in June, 2022
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 3.25 4.31 -1.06 75%
Harrison (NC AR) 1.68 3.85 -2.17 44%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 0.76 3.05 -2.29 25%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 11.02 4.56 +6.46 242%
Little Rock (C AR) 4.22 3.55 +0.67 119%
West Memphis (EC AR) 3.40 4.10 -0.70 83%
Texarkana (SW AR) 2.64 3.92 -1.28 67%
El Dorado (SC AR) 1.83 3.88 -2.05 47%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 3.28 3.27 +0.01 100%

 

There was enough rain to keep drought away in the south. Looking back three to four months, severe drought (D2) conditions or worse affected 24 percent of the state on March 15th.

For the year (2022), rainfall deficits exceeded six inches at some locations in the south, including at El Dorado (Union County). Above average rain was observed in much of the region, with a surplus of liquid over five inches at Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and West Memphis (Crittenden County).

 

Precipitation in 2022 (Through June)
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 22.09 24.50 -2.41 90%
Harrison (NC AR) 24.01 22.64 +1.37 106%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 25.84 25.45 +0.39 102%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 36.20 24.56 +11.64 147%
Little Rock (C AR) 30.27 26.65 +3.62 114%
West Memphis (EC AR) 34.59 26.60 +7.99 130%
Texarkana (SW AR) 22.84 25.82 -2.98 88%
El Dorado (SC AR) 21.36 28.04 -6.68 76%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 29.11 26.80 +2.31 109%

 

From September 1st, 2021 through June 30th, 2022, umbrellas were needed the least across the south. At El Dorado (Union County), Monticello (Drew County), and Texarkana (Miller County), rainfall during this time frame was five to more than fourteen inches in the minus category.

 

Precipitation From September 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Texarkana (SW AR) 31.73 42.52 -10.79 75%
El Dorado (SC AR) 30.82 45.29 -14.47 68%
Monticello (SE AR) 41.17 46.84 -5.67 88%

 

Parts of Arkansas were very wet and very dry in 2021. Overall, rainfall evened out to within one to two inches of normal.
Precipitation  |  Departure From Normal  |  Percent of Normal
In the pictures: Parts of Arkansas were very wet and very dry in 2021. Overall, rainfall evened out to within one to two inches of normal.
 

In 2021, wet spots were few and far between. This was the case in Desha County (in the southeast) due to a gullywasher/flooding in early June. Rainfall was also more than two inches on the plus side of normal at Harrison (Boone County) and Fort Smith (Sebastian County). Otherwise, moisture generally waned. Precipitation was more than four inches below average at Fayetteville (Washington County), Jonesboro (Craighead County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), and West Memphis (Crittenden County).

 

Precipitation in 2021
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 42.60 46.96 -4.36 91%
Harrison (NC AR) 46.81 44.50 +2.31 105%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 41.36 48.51 -7.15 85%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 50.60 47.34 +3.26 107%
Little Rock (C AR) 43.71 50.42 -6.71 87%
West Memphis (EC AR) 44.66 50.40 -5.74 89%
Texarkana (SW AR) 47.03 48.87 -1.84 96%
El Dorado (SC AR) 49.27 52.12 -2.85 95%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 44.94 50.81 -5.87 88%

 

Prior to 2021, drought had not been a concern for awhile. This was due to three consecutive Top 15 wet years (2018 to 2020), and rainfall surpluses in the double digits (at least ten inches above normal) each year. 

 

Drought outlook through September, 2022.
In the picture: Drought outlook through September, 2022.
 

Looking ahead, a weak to moderate La Niña (cooler than normal water along the equator in the Pacific Ocean) is in place, and this is expected to continue through the end of the year. With an ongoing La Niña, drier than normal conditions were observed across much of the southern United States this past winter.

There was an uptick in precipitation during the spring. This is a trait with La Niña, especially from Arkansas into parts of the Tennessee, mid-Mississippi, and Ohio Valleys into the Great Lakes. The drought situation improved locally, at least temporarily.

Unfortunately, rain will become more isolated to scattered this summer. As La Niña persists, rain will likely shut off more than usual. Drought is expected to return and could become widespread. The situation will be monitored closely.

 

Precipitation Statistics (2016-2020)
Site 2020 +/- 2019 +/- 2018 +/- 2017 +/- 2016 +/- Total +/-
Fayetteville (NW AR) 49.86 +1.35 65.26 +16.75 46.63 -2.15 51.22 +2.71 33.37 -15.14 +3.52
Harrison (NC AR) 53.60 +9.46 56.98 +12.84 47.78 +3.64 40.89 -3.25 35.41 -8.73 +13.96
Jonesboro (NE AR) 56.25 +8.15 65.89 +17.79 67.80 +19.70 46.07 -2.03 52.56 +4.46 +48.07
Fort Smith (WC AR) 61.62 +16.16 67.50 +22.04 54.17 +8.71 47.96 +2.50 31.18 -14.28 +35.13
Little Rock (C AR) 60.04 +10.29 60.46 +10.71 71.41 +21.66 47.27 -2.48 56.12 +6.37 +46.55
West Memphis (EC AR) 53.89 +1.66 73.86 +20.63 55.49 +3.26 46.64 -5.59 53.02 +0.79 +20.75
Texarkana (SW AR) 68.81 +19.16 51.53 +1.88 54.95 +5.30 50.03 +0.38 49.33 -0.32 +26.40
El Dorado (SC AR) 66.18 +13.26 60.64 +7.72 58.98 +6.06 46.70 -6.22 61.64 +8.72 +29.54
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 63.04 +11.89 63.96 +12.81 76.83 +25.68 50.80 -0.35 54.38 +3.23 +53.26

 

Looking back at recorded history, drought is no stranger to Arkansas. The good news is that periods of drought are generally short-lived. That was the case in 2011 when a deluge unfolded from mid-November to mid-December.

 

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