January 12, 2007 at 12:56 PM CST - Updated July 26 at 9:11 AM
JANUARY 12, 2007 - Posted at 7:54 a.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK (AP) - A drought that bedeviled Arkansas farmers and water-supply agencies for nearly two years is officially over for most of the state -- or at least as officially as it's likely to get.
After spring 2005 saw much lower-than-usual rainfall, the water shortage intensified later that year, with a drier final three months than any October-December period on record at the state's National Weather Service office.
At its peak, the drought prompted at least two Arkansas cities -- Fort Smith and Conway -- to seek alternative sources for their water systems as reservoir levels declined. Many farmers had to tap already-endangered underground water sources for irrigation of their crops.
But after a dry winter last year, the situation began to ease with rain during the spring, and 2006 ended with near-normal rainfall totals in much of Arkansas.
Now, the latest drought map by the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, shows only an ``abnormally dry'' area -- not considered drought conditions -- in the state's southwest, and a tiny swath of far northwestern Benton County in the state's northwest.
More rain is forecast for today through Sunday.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)