National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Critical Fire Weather Threats in the West; Storms in the High Plains

Gusty winds, very dry conditions, and areas of dry thunderstorms are producing Critical fire weather threats across the Great Basin, Northern Rockies, and into the Northern High Plains. Severe storms in the High Plains are primarily expected to contain damaging winds and large hail. Near record heat in the South and Central High Plains and the Northeast. Heat builds into the Southwest this week. Read More >



A lack of rainfall over western Arkansas during the months of August and September 2004 lead to record dryness over much of the region. In Fayetteville, it was the second driest August and September on record, dating back to 1890. The rainfall totals in Fayetteville for August and September this year are as follows:


  Normal 2004  
August 3.00 inches 0.58 inches (7th driest since 1890)
September 4.83 inches 0.57 inches (7th driest since 1890)
Total 7.83 inches 1.15 inches (2nd driest since 1890)
The driest August and September was 0.77 inches in 1909.
In Fort Smith, the two month period of August and September was the fourth driest on record. The rainfall totals in Fort Smith for August and September this year are as follows:


  Normal 2004  
August 2.56 inches 1.27 inches (25th driest since 1900)
September 3.61 inches 0.27 inches (6th driest since 1900)
Total 6.17 inches 1.54 inches (4th driest since 1900)
The driest August and September was 1.20 inches in 1909.
In eastern Oklahoma, it was not as dry as portions of western Arkansas. However, in Tulsa the same two month period was ranked as the 14th driest since 1888.
While soil moisture is very low across the region, a good representation of how the region is doing this year in terms of precipitation is where lake levels are currently. Across eastern Oklahoma, most lake levels are very close to seasonal normals. A few lake levels (precent full relative to the conservation pool) are as follows:


Lake Percent Full
Eufaula 100
Fort Gibson 100
Sardis 98
Tenkiller 95
Oologah 94
Broken Bow 84
Keystone 84
Grand 75


Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas was above normal through the end of July as a result of heavy rains that fell this spring and early summer. Currently, it remains near 100 percent of the conservation pool.