Drought Conditions To Continue For Area Farmers

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Summer has officially arrived and with the lack of recent heavy and widespread rain, drought conditions are worsening for a good portion of our area.  

The latest drought monitor places most of Arkansas in a severe drought. Recent rains in have helped to temporary relieve the severe drought conditions in Benton and Washington county.    

Below average rain in May and so far in June have helped accelerate the drought. So where do we go from here? The 6-10 day outlook from the Climate Prediction Center shows a good chance of below average rain chances in the short-term.

The 6-10 day temperature outlook shows temperatures well above average. A summer heat ridge will build through the end of June leading to very warm conditions. There is an 80% chance of temperatures above normal through the end of the month. .

Looking long-term at the month of July, which is usually one of the hotter and drier months, the outlook from the Climate Prediction Center calls for a good chance of above average temperatures.

An equal chance of near average rain exists for July according to the outlook.

Current soil moisture indices are running about 3 inches below normal for a good portion of northwest and western Arkansas.

The lack of substantial rain in May and so far in June has, not surprisingly, put a strain on crops and pasture lands. 56% percent of Arkansas pasture and range lands are considered to be in poor or very poor condition.

The bottom line as we finish up June and head into July is the drought will likely worsen as we get into the hotter months. During the summer there is always a “wild-card” for rain in the form of a tropical system that could develop in the Gulf of Mexico and track north into our area giving us much-needed rain. Chances look good that a tropical storm will develop during the last week of June. But a stubborn high pressure over the central US will force this system to the west into Mexico.