Ag Weather Forum

Heavy Rain Floods Delta

John Baranick
By  John Baranick , DTN Meteorologist
Heavy rain fell across the Delta region this past week. Some areas of Arkansas and Mississippi received over 10 inches. (DTN graphic)

An upper-level low pressure system has been pulling significant amounts of moisture northward from the Gulf of Mexico through the Midwest. Scattered showers have been daily and have helped relieve some dryness that had been occurring in the Southeast. Portions of the Midwest did not receive the rainfall they were hoping for on early forecasts.

Part of the reason could be that precipitation overachieved in the Delta region instead. Severe thunderstorms moved through Arkansas and Mississippi June 6-7. The outflow from these storms set up in a west-east orientation from northern Louisiana to central Mississippi. With moisture streaming northward from the Gulf of Mexico, the boundary fed a near-continuation of rainfall June 7-8 for some portions of east-central Arkansas and northern Mississippi. Additional rain fell in subsequent days as well.

If you add the precipitation that fell from June 4 through June 10, you get the attached image. Some areas in this region saw over 6 inches of rain (in dark red and pink) with over 10 inches (in white) in several locations, especially in Mississippi. The heavy rainfall has created all sorts of flood damage across this region, including to local farmers.

Almost all of the major river systems in northern Mississippi still had flood advisories as of June 11. Short-term forecasts from the Hydrologic Prediction Service, a division of NOAA, have moderate flooding risks for the Big Sunflower River, Yalobusha River, and Big Black River in Mississippi into next week as the water drains eventually into the Mississippi River. More limited flooding is still forecast in Arkansas, but the damage has largely been done.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson declared a state of emergency June 10 to help farmers cope with the devastating floods. This portion of the Delta is a large producer of cotton and soybeans. Winter wheat may have also been affected if it had not been harvested yet.

The forecast is drier over the next week and should help floodwaters recede, allowing local farmers to assess the damage and file claims.

John Baranick can be reached at john.baranick@dtn.com

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