Drought Conditions Worsen With July Heat

I guess it’s time to start wasting water and money and begin watering my lawn.  With the dry weather and building heat, the yard is turning brown and crunching under my feet.  I’ll justify the process with the fact that the water I use to try and save the yard and our gardens will eventually evaporate and go back into the “water cycle” and eventually fall as rain (or if the drought lasts until November, snow!)

The summer of 2012 officially started on June 20th and we’re already experiencing some blazing heat and humidity.  In the past week, some of our southern hometowns reached 100°, while the official high in the Quad Cities reached 99° on June 28th and the heat index easily surpassed 110°.

More hot weather is in the forecast for this Fourth of July week.  High temperatures will easily reach the mid-to-upper-90s and many hometowns could reach 100°.  That’s not even factoring in the humidity which will make it feel even hotter.  We call the combination of the heat and the humidity the “heat index”.  That is how warm your body actually feels when you’re outside.

Earlier, I mentioned the “official” start of summer because us meteorologists call the three warmest months of the year, June, July, and August, “meteorological summer”.

Although temperatures were all over the place in June from highs in the 70s for seven days in the first half of the month, to the 99° high on June 28, 2012, and a low of 49° just two days earlier, June temperatures ended up being 0.5° above average.

With that, the Quad Cities have now seen above average temperatures for nine consecutive months, starting back in October 2011.

The Climate Prediction Center, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is predicting the warmer than average temperatures to continue for not only July, but for August and September, too.

If that forecast verifies, that will give us 12 straight months with above average temperatures — one full year!

The warmer than average temperatures and below average snowfall last winter was welcomed by many, but now we’re still dealing with rain totals that are below average.

We did experience a wetter than average May with rainfall running 1.66″ above average in the Quad Cities.  However, that’s a little deceiving because 4.31″ of the month’s 5.98″ of rain fell in the first seven days.  That was followed by twenty mostly dry days with only 0.04″ falling on one of those days.  We did end the month picking up 1.63″ in the last four days of May.

June was drier than average with 2.97″ of rain.

Here is the latest drought outlook issued by the National Climatic Data Center from NOAA, as of June 26, 2012.  In the Quad Cities, conditions have worsened.

The yellow on the map indicates abnormally dry conditions, the tan represents “moderate drought”, and the orange shading downstate Illinois is where a “severe” drought is underway.

NOAA is predicting below average rain for the Quad Cities in July and based on the current hot weather pattern and the metro area missing out on this past weekend’s thunderstorms, I agree with that forecast.

Be safe out there this week with the heat and humidity.

Anthony

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