Very hot temperatures and isolated precipitation…at best…will continue through the first few days of July. With the possibility of an isolated “pop up” shower occasionally, the weather service has added a slight chance of rain to Monday’s forecast in the valley, but that alone is not expected to ease the drought conditions substantially enough to lessen the fire danger before the Fourth of July holiday. Isolated thunderstorms with lightning, in fact, could even worsen the chance of a wildfire being ignited.
As of June 26th…eighty seven percent of Arkansas was experiencing a severe drought…with extreme drought conditions in a third of the state. Those conditions…and the “extreme” designation…have now spread statewide. Recent record high temperatures and very low humidity levels increased evaporation rates…and vegetation dried out quickly. Wildfires have become more common…with at least 200 wildfires and 3000 acres burned so far this month.
The Arkansas forestry commission has the entire state in an extreme fire danger…and all Arkansas counties are under burn bans at this time. Outdoor burning…including the use of fireworks…is strongly discouraged in Arkansas until widespread substantial rain falls. Those headed outdoors should prepare for the heat. Wear light colored loose fitting clothing…drink plenty of non alcoholic fluids and go to an air conditioned environment periodically.
A record high temperature of 102 degrees was set at North Little Rock yesterday. This ties the old record of 102 set in 1980. A record high temperature of 103 degrees was set at Jacksonville/Little Rock AFB yesterday. This breaks the old record of 102 set in 1980. And a record high temperature of 106 degrees was set at Russellville yesterday. This breaks the old record of 102 set in 1978.