Drought conditions improve for first time since onset

Posted: August 23, 2012 at 7:58 a.m.

The weekly drought monitor showed improving conditions in Arkansas.

— More than 45 percent of the state remains under the worst category of drought, but the conditions have improved for the first time since the drought began, officials said Thursday.

The U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly report issued each Thursday and reflecting conditions through the prior Tuesday morning, showed 45.3 percent of Arkansas is under an exceptional drought. Last week, 53.6 percent of the state was in that category.

John Robinson, a senior warning meteorologist for the National Weather Service, noted the report shows improvements in parts of southern, western and central Arkansas. Drought conditions are expected to improve further in southern Arkansas but continue in the north, according to a drought outlook which forecasts through November, Robinson said.

According to the latest monitor, about 74.4 percent of the state is under an extreme drought, the second-worst category. About 81 percent of the state was under an extreme drought last week.