John Robinson, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Little Rock says the U.S. Drought Monitor's latest reading for Arkansas shows "a substantial deterioration in conditions over the state."
Comparing last week's drought monitor map (images attached below) and this week's map shows "abnormally dry" areas in the state increase dramatically from nearly 25-percent to more than 94-percent. In areas classified as "moderate drought," the increase is also alarming, from 1.53-percent to 11.63-percent.
Robinson says that means without widespread rain, those numbers will likely go higher, especially considering the above-normal temperatures we've been having.
The current outlook for June, as well as July and August indicates a trend toward above-normal temperatures. The outlook for rain this summer shows "equal chances," meaning chances are 33% for below-normal rainfall, 33% for near-normal rainfall, and 33% for above-normal rainfall.
Robinson says in the summer, tropical weather systems moving out of the Gulf of Mexico can bring substantial, widespread rains to Arkansas. However, even though the Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1, tropical weather systems usually do not affect Arkansas until August or September.
Watch KNWA tonight for more on this story from reporter Garret Krier.