The year started out exceptionally wet for Arkansas, but since May 19th, Little Rock has not seen measurable rain.

Little Rock was so rainy, at one point, it was ranked first place for most year-to-date rainfall. We fell to third place in the first half of May.

As of June 1st, Little Rock ranks 10th in year-to-date rainfall at nearly 3 feet. The airport officially measures 35.72″.

It is the first time so far in 2023, nearly half of the state is under abnormally dry drought conditions.

Latest drought monitor as of June 1, 2023

Arkansas took a dramatic turn in May, with the month ending over three inches below average in rainfall. Little Rock picked up less than two inches for the entire month of May, compared to over half a foot each for the previous four months.

It was so rainy from January through April, each month averaged about 3½-4½” above average in month-to-date rainfall.

  • January ended 4.57″ above average
  • February ended 3.65″ above average
  • March ended 3.48″ above average
  • April ended 4.28″ above average

May marked the first time in 2023, the month ended below average in rainfall.

The lack of rain is affecting agriculture, yards, pools and river levels across the state. Most measuring locations along the Buffalo River as of June 1st are either low or very low. Harriet has the most water at around three to six feet.

The first week of June remains dry and hot for the most part, with plenty of sunshine and only a slim shot for an isolated shower or thunderstorm in the late afternoons. No widespread rain is anticipated, and high temperatures remain in the low 90s.
Additionally, Climate Prediction Center is forecasting near normal temperatures and precipitation for the next two weeks.

Last year in 2022, Arkansas experienced a similar pattern – a rather rainy start, with a drier late Summer and Fall. It’s too early to tell if that will be the same case this time around.

As of May 31, 2022, the Capitol City saw 26.05″ of rain, nearly 10 inches less than what Little Rock picked up for 2023 thus far.

For more on when we have the best chance for seeing rain next, check out the latest Arkansas Storm Team forecast here.