June 2017 cooler, wet­ter than nor­mal

State’s av­er­age tem­per­a­ture down; only four 90-de­gree days recorded

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - KEN­NETH HEARD

June in Arkansas is nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with high tem­per­a­tures and dry con­di­tions, but last month was one of the cooler and wet­ter Junes the state has seen in years, Na­tional Weather Ser­vice me­te­o­rol­o­gists said.

The state’s av­er­age tem­per­a­ture last month was 75.5 de­grees, down a de­gree from the av­er­age. It’s the coolest June since 2003, said me­te­o­rol­o­gist Brian Smith with the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice in North Lit­tle Rock.

There were only four 90-de­gree days in the state last month, which tied with 1888, 1908 and 1919 as the fourth-fewest 90-de­gree days in June in Arkansas.

Also, rain­fall in the state last month was 2 to 6 inches above nor­mal, he said.

“We’re see­ing fre­quent storm sys­tems that come from the north­west and stall over us,” Smith said. “The trend seems to be one af­ter an­other. This pat­tern is more in­dica­tive of late spring in­stead of sum­mer.”

Usu­ally, by sum­mer, a ridge of high pres­sure “parks,” or stalls, some­where over the south­east­ern United States. That ridge causes any rain-pro­duc­ing storm sys­tems headed to Arkansas to drift far­ther north.

This year, that ridge has set up far­ther west, cre­at­ing the 100-de­gree tem­per­a­tures in Ari­zona and Ne­vada, Smith said.

The lo­ca­tion of that ridge this year has pro­duced storms that have re­peat­edly del­uged Arkansas with rain.

Paragould re­ceived the most rain­fall in the state last month with 9.15 inches.

“This time of year, I’m usu­ally wa­ter­ing my yard,” Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill said. “This year, I’m hav­ing to mow it twice a week.”

He said street crews of­ten have had to clean de­bris from ditches this year to help pre­vent flood­ing in the Greene County town.

In Stone County, Moun­tain View recorded 8.69 inches of rain in June. Moun­tain­burg, which is in Craw­ford County, saw 8.63 inches, and Pine Bluff in Jef­fer­son County re­ceived 8.52 inches.

Mon­ti­cello in south­east Arkansas recorded 5.6 inches of rain dur­ing one down­pour on June 23.

“It’s been a tough last 20 days,” Mon­ti­cello Mayor David An­der­son said. “We’ve had ditches flood yards and wash out side­walks.

“Nor­mally, June is a dry month un­less we get a hur­ri­cane come off the coast up this way.”

An­der­son said street crews have had to work past mid­night dur­ing some re­cent rains to put up bar­ri­cades when streets in the Drew County town be­gan flood­ing.

“We’re pre­pared, but it’s been tough on our boys,” he said.

The ad­di­tional rain also pro­vides breed­ing grounds for mos­qui­toes, which have thrived this year be­cause of the rel­a­tively mild win­ter and cool spring.

“You can’t go out­side with­out get­ting clob­bered,” An­der­son said of the in­sects.

The heavy rains have hin­dered veg­etable crops, said Drew County ex­ten­sion agent Steve Kel­ley.

Wet weather tends to cre­ate more of a chance for dis­eases in toma­toes, wa­ter­mel­ons, squash, pep­pers and other veg­eta­bles and fruits that grow in the area, he said.

Kel­ley said farm­ers of row crops are just be­gin­ning to ir­ri­gate fields. The rain has kept drought con­di­tions down.

The U.S. Drought Mon­i­tor, an or­ga­ni­za­tion based at the Univer­sity of Ne­braska at Lin­coln that mon­i­tors drought con­di­tions, said only 1.1 per­cent of Arkansas is con­sid­ered to be “ab­nor­mally dry.” The des­ig­na­tion is given to an area that is 1-2 inches be­low av­er­age in rain­fall for a 30-day pe­riod.

Last year in the first week of July, the mon­i­tor said 27 per­cent of the state was in some form of drought.

Most of Arkansas has re­ceived an abun­dance of rain dur­ing the first half of this year.

In Wash­ing­ton County, Fayet­teville’s 34.99 inches of rain for the year is 9.8 inches above nor­mal. Har­ri­son in Boone County is 7.2 inches above av­er­age. Fort Smith in Se­bas­tian County is 7.11 inches above its nor­mal rain­fall and Lit­tle Rock is 3.51 inches above its av­er­age.

Only West Mem­phis in Crit­ten­den County, with 2.46 inches, and Texarkana in Miller County, with 1.9 inches, are be­low av­er­age rain­fall for the first half of this year, the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice re­ported.

Smith said there are chances of rain again this week­end and early into next week.

“Maybe in July and Au­gust we’ll be look­ing for rain,” Gaskill said. “But as of now, we’ve got plenty to spare.”

NWA Democrat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF

A pair of camp­sites are sur­rounded Wed­nes­day by Beaver Lake at Rocky Branch park. The level of Beaver Lake re­mains high af­ter heavy rain dur­ing spring.

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