Despite Recent Rains, Arkansas' Drought Isn't Over

APRIL 26, 2006 - Posted at 7:55 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Don't expect any declaration, official or otherwise, that Arkansas' 14-month drought has ended because of recent heavy rains.  National Weather Service hydrologist Steve Bays said yesterday that rain that fell overnight in much of the state will provide only temporary relief from the state's long dry spell.

Bays said the rains weren't enough to break a drought that has dried up drinking water supplies and forced farmers to plant fewer acres of their crops.  Bays said it took us a long time to get in a drought and it won't take one overnight event to get us out.

In north Arkansas, storms dumped between three and four inches of rain.  In Bruno, a school bus carrying four children was washed off a low-water bridge after a storm caused flash flooding.  Marion County Sheriff Carl McBee said no one was injured when the bus ended up about 200 yards downstream.

The rain has been enough, however, to lower the fire danger in the state.  The Arkansas Forestry Commission showed only one of Arkansas' 75 counties, Carroll County in northwest Arkansas, under a burn ban, and the majority of the state experiencing low fire danger as well.  Only the northwest and southwest corners of the state are under moderate fire danger.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)