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Friday, May 6, 2016

Rain soothes tri-counties

Thursday, October 14, 2004

ROLLIN': Road crews continued expansion work Oct. 12 on Highway 62 three miles east of Salem.
Staff Writers

After suffering one of the driest Septembers on record, Fulton and Izard counties received 5 inches of rain over the weekend, courtesy of Tropical Depression Matthew.

"We really needed this rain," said Fulton County Judge Curren Everett.

Izard County Judge Eddie Cooper said 5 inches of rain had fallen in the county since Oct. 7. He said no damage has been reported from the storm.

"We've got a lot of muddy roads and that's about it," Cooper said.

Everett said the steady rains are not expected to cause any flooding in Fulton County. "When 5 inches of rain falls in a few hours or even one day, that causes major problems. When it's over the course of several days that's not nearly as bad," Everett said.

According to the National Weather Service, Matthew's center passed through Izard and Fulton counties early in the evening Oct. 11.

National Weather Service Forecaster Nelson de Villiers said the storm has dropped between 4 and 6 inches of rain across the state.

De Villiers said no damage has been reported in Arkansas from the storm, but damage has been reported in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama where the storm made landfall.

He said the center of the storm swept across the Louisiana coast, causing severe flooding, and tracked north.

Matthew was classified as a tropical storm when it made landfall. As it traveled over land, Matthew was downgraded to a tropical depression.

A tropical storm sustains winds between 39 to 73 mph, whereas a tropical depression has winds of 38 miles mph or less.

Significant amounts of rain are associated with both types of storms.

De Villiers said Matthew developed in the Gulf of Mexico. "Matthew didn't stay over the water long enough to develop into a hurricane," he said.

The rain from Matthew came as a relief to many across the Arkansas. According to the National Weather Service, this September is tied with 1897 as the third driest September ever.

Less than 0.03 inches of rain was reported in Fulton and Izard counties through the month.

Several towns, including Calico Rock, didn't record any measurable precipitation for the month.

De Villier said rain from the storm will continue to fall through Oct. 13. He said as the storm moved through the state it weakened considerably.

A cold front is expected to move in behind the storm and precipitation was not in the forecast for the next seven days.

Burn bans in Fulton and Izard counties have been lifted.

Burn bans have also been lifted in Sharp County.

The last rain reported in the county was Aug. 27 before remnants from Matthew found their way into the area Oct. 7.

"It was just so dry," Sharp County Judge Harold Crawford said. "We were happy to see the rain coming."

In addition, the dry conditions made it difficult to grade roads in the county.

"We're really proud about how this rain has fallen," Crawford said. "It's making the roads better for our graders."

The dry conditions had a severe impact on farms in the county as well. Most of the 567 farms in the county raise beef cattle, said county Extension agent Joe Moore.

"For about the entire month we were reporting we were in 80 percent drought conditions for cattle," Moore said. "We were really suffering because of the lack of rain."

The pastures dried up and cattle began losing weight, Moore said. Farmers were forced to feed cattle the hay they had put away earlier in the year for the winter months.

"The pastures suffered a bunch," Moore said. "With the rain we received it should give the grass an opportunity to pop back up."

Lawns also began to suffer, Moore said. Irrigating lawns is an option but is typically too costly for many residents in the area.

The rain was a blessing, Moore said.

"We were reporting we were down by about 4 to 4.5 inches," Moore said. "It makes a big difference."

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