June 2017 cooler, wetter than normal
State’s average temperature down; only four 90-degree days recorded
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.”
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.