March 21, 2023

Mississippi River at eighth lowest degree on document; Arkansas below excessive wildfire danger

Drought circumstances have worsened all through the Arkansas Delta and there can be impacts to farmers because the harvest season unfolds. The dearth of rain has been so extreme that the Mississippi River is at its lowest degree in a decade and it’s the eighth lowest degree ever recorded for the river, Nationwide Climate Service Meteorologist Samantha Brown informed Discuss Enterprise & Politics.

There hasn’t been any precipitation within the area in nearly two weeks and that received’t change within the short-term forecast, and there’s nothing within the long-term modeling that signifies any change at this level, Brown stated.

“Drought circumstances are worsening. There’s no likelihood of rain that I can see for the following seven days and even additional,” she stated.

All the Delta is below abnormally dry, average or extreme drought circumstances, based on the U.S. Drought Monitor. A low-pressure trough has stalled over the mid-South area, and there’s no indication it can transfer anytime quickly, Brown stated.

One other downside induced is that low strain results in much less humidity. The dearth of humidity within the mornings can be making the bottom drier.

Wildfire risks have considerably elevated statewide in latest weeks. The NWS lists all 75 counties in Arkansas within the excessive wildfire hazard class because of the lack of rain, humidity and gusty winds. About half of the state’s counties are below a burn ban.

The one county in Northeast Arkansas that’s below a burn ban is Clay County, and the ban doesn’t embody a ban on agricultural burning – but.

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Many farmers within the area burn their fields to do away with the natural refuse left of their fields. The observe is controversial. It impacts air high quality for residents within the area and may trigger well being issues for these with respiration illnesses. At instances, the plumes of smoke cowl roadways inflicting driving hazards.

The dearth of rain could profit farmers as they harvest, however as soon as these crops attain the Mississippi River new issues will come up. The river’s low waters are impacting barge site visitors.

Water ranges on the Decrease Mississippi River (LMR) are dangerously low in some areas and will sluggish and even cease barge site visitors simply as corn and soybean harvest begins, Progressive Farmer analyst Mary Kennedy stated. A lot of the fall export enterprise is for soybeans on the U.S. Gulf and the persisting low water will be problematic for shippers who want to maneuver the new-crop harvest down river, she added.

The USDA famous in its weekly Grain Transportation Report for the week ended Sept. 17, barged grain actions totaled 209,600 tons. This was 16% greater than the earlier week and 130 grain barges moved down river, which was 25 fewer barges than the prior week, she stated.

The second half of September and October are usually dry months within the area, Brown stated. The drought circumstances throughout the summer season have exacerbated the issue this 12 months, she added.