For the first time in months, there are big holes in the Arkansas drought map, with broad swaths along the Louisiana and Mississippi borders being drought-free, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor map.
Recent maps showed only 0.11 percent of Arkansas being drought-free. The latest estimates show 6.04 percent of the state was drought-free including parts of Columbia, Ouachita, Union, Ashley, Desha and Chicot counties.
However, the area of deepest drought, “exceptional,” remained unchanged across parts of northwest and north-central Arkansas. The map did show improvements in parts of the Arkansas River Valley, which was drought’s Ground Zero for most of the summer.
While the rain in southeastern parts of the state did recharge water ways, it also put farmers behind in the harvest and caused a little worry over the quality of cotton. Rain can stain the white cotton lint in the open bolls and cause the bolls to string out, making them tough to harvest.
“Our producers really got back into the field Tuesday afternoon,” said Chicot County Extension staff chairman Gus Wilson. “If we could get another 10 days of good weather, we ought to be about 95 percent complete in the harvest. We still have a few late soybeans out there.
“If it doesn’t rain this weekend, every tractor will be running hard, getting the land prepared for next year.”