Rainfall record after rainfall record tumbled in Arkansas on Tuesday in areas north of I-30, while the state’s drought-plagued southwest soaked up the storm.
Daily maximum rainfall records were reported Tuesday in Batesville, 2.01 inches; Hot Springs, 4.41 inches; Mount Ida, 5.48 inches; Little Rock Air Force Base, 3.83 inches; North Little Rock, 4.5 inches; and 5.2 inches at Russellville.
The 6.06 inches recorded at Little Rock Adams Field shattered the old record of 1.34 inches set back in 1934. Little Rock’s 12.49 inches so far this month makes it the second wettest November since the National Weather Service started keeping records in 1877. The record of 13.14 inches was set in 1988.
The heavy rains forced evacuations and set propane tanks afloat in the Polk County community of Acorn, according to the National Weather Service. Flooding in Scott County closed U.S. 71, and flooding was reported on U.S. 64 in Morrilton, as well as Highways 27, 80, 307 and 309 in Yell County. Businesses were reporting some flooding at Mena and Heber Springs.
However, farther south, counties still in the grip of extreme or exceptional drought were thankful for the front that brought water at last.
“Most of it went north of Miller County, but we did get a little over three-quarters of an inch out of it,” said Doug Petty, Miller County Extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. “We can use a lot more, but it improved a lot of attitudes around here. It was getting pretty depressing for farmers and agents.”
The water was also welcome in Lafayette County, where some 18,000 acres of winter wheat are just waiting to grow after being seeded into dry and dusty soil. County Extension staff chair Joe Vestal said Lewisville received more than an inch by Tuesday morning.
“An old wheat farmer once told me this about wheat planting: ‘Wheat planted in the dust, bins will bust’,” Vestal said. “Hopefully that will hold true this year. We had lots of wheat dusted in back in October and early November that will really be helped by this rainfall.
“It will help emerging wheat and also winter pastures. Producers who were holding off fertilizing winter pastures because of dry conditions should go ahead and fertilize. Pasture growth will be stimulated if it doesn't get too cold.”
The rain was just one more thing for Arkansas farmers to celebrate on Thanksgiving.
“Everyone is thankful – I have not heard one complaint about the rain,” said Jerri Lephiew, Ouachita County Extension agent.