Rainfall over the weekend and on Monday has proven to be very beneficial in alleviating drought conditions in Arkansas, but officials say more is needed to completely remedy the situation.
"This rainfall will help ease the dry conditions across the state," said National Weather Service Meteorologist Joe Goudsward. "We won't know the extent to which until about Wednesday when the new drought monitor is issued, but of course any precipitation will be beneficial and it looks like the south will see the best impacts of this rain."
One immediate result of the wet weather is the removal of burn bans in many Arkansas counties.
"The rain this weekend has most definitely helped with the fire danger," said Adriane Barnes, the spokeswoman for the state's Department of Agriculture. "The Forestry Commission has rated the entire state, every county in Arkansas, at low fire danger."
She added that the high humidity normally associated with winter should help reduce the risks of wildfires for the next few months. According to Barnes, humidity levels above 40 percent prevent fires from gaining intensity and spreading.
"Most likely we're about to leave our second high wildfire season. Usually our wildfire seasons are going to happen from February to April and then from August to October," Barnes said. But she cautioned residents to continue to be mindful because of how dry conditions were, particularly in southern Arkansas, prior to the rain.
Burn bans were still in effect Monday for almost a dozen of the state's 75 counties, including Pulaski County in central Arkansas. Jarrod Johnson, a spokesman for Pulaski County, said some areas received less than an inch of rain. Up-to-date information on burn bans throughout the state can be found at www.arkfireinfo.org or by contacting the county judge's office in each county.