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So far, so mild this summer

So far, this summer has proven to be mild and wetter than usual.

Last week saw some of the coolest weather ever in July as a cold front dropped highs into the 70s last Thursday and Friday. Lows dipped into the 50s in some spots. July and August are normally the hottest months of the year in Logan County with an average temperature of 92.

Last week also saw .66 inches of rain fall in Paris bringing the total for the month to 4.7 inches, more than an inch above the normal 3.5 inches seen in July. July is also the fourth consecutive month for above normal rain. Last week, the area got .63 inches of rain on Thursday, .02 inches on Monday and .01 inches on Wednesday.

Thursday’s rain was less than the three inches expected and lighter than predicted rain helped cattle farmers who have been dealing with flooded fields in some parts of the state, according to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

“We dodged a bullet with the rain. It’s not very often anyone says that about a July rain,” said Keith Perkins, Lonoke County extension agent. “We only received .5 to 1 inch of rain in our county.”

Even with all the water, producers know that August in Arkansas is typically toast dry.

“With this rain most of the corn crop will only need one or two more irrigations to finish the season,” he said. “We have a good looking crop going now, but don’t forget we can get hot and dry quickly this time of year be ready to irrigate if needed but be thankful when it is not needed. Cattle farmers are loving the rain because this means plenty of grass for grazing and cutting for hay. They may have to dodge showers to get hay up but better than not having any to cut for hay.”

Robin Bridges, Union County extension staff chair, saw another upside, “My peaches will ripen very fast now that they got some rain. We’ll take it with a smile.”

Not every row crop area has been hit as hard this summer as Monroe, Woodruff and other Delta counties. Phillips County Extension Agent Robert Goodson said 1.1 inches of rain fell overnight in his area.

“We do have one drain that is backing up due to water received from up north and the White River backing up,” he said. Less than 500 acres are affected, but “overall, rain was beneficial to our area.”

It’s been dry in Desha County too, said County Extension Staff Chair Wes Kirkpatrick.

“We had a good general rainfall in the 2-inch range — just what we needed,” he said. “We can turn the wells off until the middle of next week and hopefully have a relaxing weekend.”

In Calhoun County, Extension Agent Jaret Rushing said “we really haven’t seen much rain here in Calhoun County since the floods in May and early June. This rain is a blessing for our producers.”

The National Weather Service in Little Rock reported that the storm dropped a record 1.96 inches of rain in Mount Ida, and a daily record also fell at Hot Springs, 1.29 inches. Record low temperatures were set Thursday in North Little Rock, 62 degrees and 60 degrees at Hot Springs..

This week, it’s back to normal weather with highs expected to range from the upper 80s to the middle 90s. A front is expected in the area Wednesday, bringing lower temperatures and a 30 percent chance of rain. Saturday and Sunday will see a 20 percent chance of showers.

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