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Drought Conditions Continue to Intensify in Northeast Louisiana and Southern Arkansas

Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 6:47 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - It was a fairly typical first 8 months of the year with regards to rainfall. Through the first of September, we were actually running about an inch above average for the year - the average rainfall from January 1 to September 1 is 37.34 inches, and Monroe Regional Airport (MLU) had observed 38.60 inches.

But then the spigot just shut off.

Precipitation totals by month in 2021. Drought conditions are due to the dry stretch that began...
Precipitation totals by month in 2021. Drought conditions are due to the dry stretch that began in early September.(KNOE)

Since September 1st (and as of November 26), MLU has observed just 4.77 inches of rain. The average during that same period is 11.93 inches. We’ve seen just 40% of our typical rainfall in that nearly 3-month-long timeframe. This includes an especially dry stretch between September 21 and October 14, where we received a lowly tenth of an inch of rainfall.

Keep in mind that this was a period of time over 3 weeks long.

At first, this pattern was only mildly noteworthy. We go through drier periods every once in a while, but they usually only last a few weeks before fading away. But this one has been different. So far, the extremely dry pattern has held up. It has led to much below average rainfall totals in September and October, and will likely lead to a much drier than average November.

After nearly three months of this, drought has begun to expand into the ArkLaMiss. Much of the area is in a moderate drought, which corresponds to the following impacts:

  • Damage to crops and pastures
  • Low water levels in streams, lakes, and rivers
  • Water shortages developing
  • Some voluntary water use restrictions
Drought conditions as of November 26, 2021. Moderate drought continues to rapidly expand in the...
Drought conditions as of November 26, 2021. Moderate drought continues to rapidly expand in the ArkLaMiss.(KNOE)

If the current pattern holds up, we will likely be looking at the expansion of severe drought into the ArkLaMiss within the next couple of months. Severe drought is the next step up from moderate drought. These conditions are already occurring in east Texas, and are likely to develop in northeast Louisiana and southern Arkansas if we don’t enter a more consistently wet pattern.

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