SEPTEMBER 21, 2004 - Posted at 7:23 a.m. CDT
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR - Since a two-inch downpour August 20, Arkansas has endured one of its driest periods ever.
The state Forestry Commission said that, with the dry weather, the risk of forest fires is increasing. State forester John T. Shannon said low humidity levels will keep the fire risk high.
Even while hurricanes raged in the Gulf of Mexico, only three-hundredths of an inch of rain has fallen since September 1. That makes this the third-driest three-week period in Arkansas history.
Forecasters at the National Weather Service in North Little Rock say a that a change in the weather pattern has cut off moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.
The figure is 2.32 inches below normal. Only 1955 and 1919 were drier. In 1955, there was no rain in the period.
In the month since the August downpour, only 11-hundredths of an inch of rain has fallen, making it likely that September 2004 could end up the driest on record.
Twenty-seven hundredths of an inch of rain fell in September 1917.