LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It is no secret that it has been dry across the Natural State. Since June 10th Little Rock has only recorded 0.07″ of rain and other locations in Northeast Arkansas have received none. With hot and dry conditions continuing there is the concern for a “flash drought” to occur in Arkansas.

According to the National Integrated Drought Information System: “Flash drought is simply the rapid onset or intensification of drought. It is set in motion by lower-than-normal rates of precipitation, accompanied by abnormally high temperatures, winds, and radiation. Together, these changes in weather can rapidly alter the local climate.”

The difference between a flash drought and a normal drought is the rate at which we start experiencing drought conditions. A normal drought is one that would take consistent below average rain for several months of even years.

Conditions here in Arkansas match the definition of a flash drought perfectly. After a very wet start to June, the rain seemingly shut off. This has caused less moisture in the soil, allowing for hotter temperatures. So far in July, we have seen our hottest stretch since 2012 and no measurable rainfall in Little Rock. This will continue to dry our soil and cause rapidly worsening drought conditions.

The forecast data over the next week doesn’t look good if you’re looking for rain. There is a front that will move through Arkansas late Tuesday into Wednesday, but there is almost no rain expected. After the front moves through high pressure will gain control and we will have another sunny and dry stretch.

Above are the forecast rain totals over the next 7 days across Arkansas. Unfortunately, there is little and no rain expected for the locations that need it the most.

With extremely dry conditions in the forecast, it is going to take a lot of rain to reverse the impending flash drought. Luckily we are entering the most active part of hurricane season, and a tropical system could easily bring enough rain to turn our dry summer around.

The National Hurricane Center does show a low chance for a tropical system to form over the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, there is a large area of higher pressure over Arkansas that is going to block the system from moving in our direction. The tropical system is actually forecast to stall near the panhandle of Florida and bring flooding rain to them.

So, it looks like the dry, sunny, and hot conditions will continue through the end of July.


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The Arkansas Storm Team is a collaboration of two stations to bring you the largest weather team in the state when covering Arkansas weather.