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 to severe drought (D1/D2) conditions in far northeast Arkansas on 05/28/2024.

Moderate drought (D1) conditions existed in northeast Arkansas to end May. Next Page Update: June 20, 2024

 
Drought Conditions (Percent Area)
Category Coverage
None 86.14%
D0-D4 13.86%
D1-D4 4.30%
D2-D4 0%
D3-D4 0%
D4 0%
In the picture: There were moderate drought (D1) conditions in northeast Arkansas on 05/28/2024.
 
 
Drought conditions as of 05/28/2024.
In the picture: Drought conditions as of 05/28/2024.
 

Across the country, the worst drought conditions (at least D3) were in the southern Rockies and central and southern Plains.

 

Precipitation across Arkansas in May, 2024.
In the picture: Precipitation across Arkansas in May, 2024.
 

Here at home in May, the soil was soggy from southwest into central Arkansas, and also in the far northwest. In these areas, rainfall was more than four inches above average. There was an 8.22 inch surplus of precipitation at Little Rock (Pulaski County)! Elsewhere, there was some dryness (one to more than two inch rainfall deficits) in portions of the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains.

 

Precipitation in May, 2024
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 4.86 5.89 -1.03 83%
Harrison (NC AR) 4.17 4.81 -0.64 87%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 5.70 5.21 +0.49 109%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 6.20 5.63 +0.57 110%
Little Rock (C AR) 13.30 5.08 +8.22 262%
West Memphis (EC AR) 5.48 5.03 +0.45 109%
Texarkana (SW AR) 4.69 5.10 -0.41 92%
El Dorado (SC AR) 4.88 4.81 +0.07 101%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 6.30 4.80 +1.50 131%

 

In 2024 (through May), wet to very wet conditions were found across the central and southern counties, and it was somewhat dry in the north/east.

 

Precipitation in 2024 (Through May)
Site Amount Normal +/- % of Normal
Fayetteville (NW AR) 17.03 20.19 -3.16 84%
Harrison (NC AR) 17.85 18.79 -0.94 95%
Jonesboro (NE AR) 22.02 22.40 -0.38 98%
Fort Smith (WC AR) 22.39 20.00 +2.39 112%
Little Rock (C AR) 36.39 23.10 +13.29 158%
West Memphis (EC AR) 20.54 23.29 -2.75 88%
Texarkana (SW AR) 27.87 21.90 +5.97 127%
El Dorado (SC AR) 37.61 24.16 +13.45 156%
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 26.19 23.53 +2.66 111%

 

Drought outlook through August, 2024.
In the picture: Drought outlook through August, 2024.
 

Looking ahead, El Niño (warmer than normal water temperatures near the equator in the Pacific Ocean) is about gone, and there will likely be a transition to La Niña (cooler than normal water) later in the year. Long range models continue to show more wetness than dryness as summer begins, and drought is not expected to become much of an issue in the foreseeable future. As La Niña becomes more dominant in the late summer/fall, we may be faced with dryness and drought depending on how much precipitation is provided by the tropics. The forecast calls for a more active than usual hurricane season. We will monitor the situation closely.

 

Precipitation Statistics (2019-2023)
Site 2023 +/- 2022 +/- 2021 +/- 2020 +/- 2019 +/- Total +/-
Fayetteville (NW AR) 44.89 -2.07 41.76 -5.20 42.60 -4.36 49.86 +1.35 65.26 +16.75 +6.47
Harrison (NC AR) 44.59 +0.09 43.23 -1.27 46.81 +2.31 53.60 +9.46 56.98 +12.84 +23.43
Jonesboro (NE AR) 48.43 -0.08 47.27 -1.24 41.36 -7.15 56.25 +8.15 65.89 +17.79 +17.47
Fort Smith (WC AR) 45.29 -2.05 56.01 +8.67 50.60 +3.26 61.62 +16.16 67.50 +22.04 +48.08
Little Rock (C AR) 56.86 +6.44 48.29 -2.13 43.71 -6.71 60.04 +10.29 60.46 +10.71 +18.60
West Memphis (EC AR) 46.99 -3.41 53.17 +2.77 44.66 -5.74 53.89 +1.66 73.86 +20.63 +15.91
Texarkana (SW AR) 56.66 +7.79 45.38 -3.49 47.03 -1.84 68.81 +19.16 51.53 +1.88 +23.50
El Dorado (SC AR) 57.11 +4.99 50.41 -1.71 49.27 -2.85 66.18 +13.26 60.64 +7.72 +21.41
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 48.39 -2.42 46.87 -3.94 44.94 -5.87 63.04 +11.89 63.96 +12.81 +12.47

 

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
 
Departure from Normal Precipitation for Latest Month (click "Precipitation Estimate" for rainfall legend)
Departure from Normal Precipitation for Year (click "Precipitation Estimate" for rainfall legend)

 

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