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Rain event is a dud

HELENA – People in agriculture were trying to keep their sense of humor intact Thursday afternoon after their hopes for rain were dashed by a weather system that seemed to be more generous east of the Mississippi. County extension agents across the state said they received varying totals, mostly from zero to a half-inch. Robert Goodson, Phillips and Lee county extension agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said “It rained 0.4 in Helena on the asphalt. I can really grow a parking lot now.”

Fortunately, many row crop producers hoping to grow more than that were filling their well pumps with fuel and rolling out polypipe to carry water into the fields in case the storm system didn’t bring as much water as they needed. Pop-up thunderstorms on Wednesday peppered the Delta with pea-sized hail and a tantalizingly small amount of water.

In Jackson County, Extension Staff Chair Randy Chlapecka said Thursday’s clouds brought spotty showers, but “some areas got lucky yesterday. We got around an inch in an area around Newport and also in the northern part of the county. Some are still waiting on moisture to finish planting soybeans, however.”

Prairie County had some rain in spots on Wednesday. “We had about three-quarters of an inch of hail in about five minutes,” said Brent Griffin, Prairie County extension staff chair. “The hail was pea-sized and very short lived.”

The better news was the rain. “We have .75 to 1 inch in gauges according to a quick survey,” he said. “The rain came fast and in sheets, but actually did soak up.” Griffin said the amount does help and will enable farmers to get soybeans planted behind wheat and help rice farmers flood fields.