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Mid-South Needs Rain, Drought Conditions Continue Across U.S.

The Mid-South is experiencing between 4 and 7 inches of below normal rainfall for the year.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - We may be enjoying the dry weather in the Mid-South, but we desperately need rain. That's the same story across the country. In fact, the U.S. hasn't been this dry in five years. Experts fear 'abnormally dry' and drought conditions could worsen as we enter the heat of the summer.

Jim Belles, NWS Meteorologist, says, "It's all relative to where your location is. For instance, so far we've had 10-15 inches of rain across the area generally. That's how much rain Bismark gets all year long."

The average yearly rainfall for the Mid-South is 50 inches. Since January, the Mid-South has seen rainfall deficits between 4 and 7 inches below normal. The Memphis Agricenter has recorded a current rainfall deficit around 5.7 inches. At the Memphis International Airport the deficit is higher at around 7.5 inches.

Deficits continue across the Mid-South in various locations. Total rainfall in Jackson, Tennessee is nearly 5.8 inches below average for the year and Jonesboro, Arkansas is running around 4.2 inches below normal. Meanwhile, Tupelo, Mississippi has a surplus of rain, recording around an inch above normal rainfall since January 1, 2012.

Usually going into this point of the year, there's enough favorable moisture in the soil. Experts say crops could be stressed down the road if the Mid-South continues to face dry conditions and warm temperatures.

"If rain is timely and if we don't get excessively hot weather, that will keep us from moving into extreme drought conditions," says Belles.

Only two states in the U.S., Ohio and Alaska, are entirely free of abnormally dry or drought conditions.
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