Drought continues gradual improvement with no hazards of concern in near future – Facts for Fancy Fruit

Drought continues gradual improvement with no hazards of concern in near future

Recent precipitation events have allowed periodic rainfall to hit most places across Indiana.  Over the last few weeks, at least half an inch of rain has fallen with some areas in central and northern Indiana receiving two to four inches!  This has meant that Abnormally Dry (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1) conditions have not be intensifying with some areas actually showing improving conditions according to the U. S. Drought Monitor (USDM; Figure 1). Even the seasonal drought outlook is predicting drought conditions to continue to improve between now and the end of September (U.S. Drought Monitor categories of D1 through D4) – which is great news!  The forecast of rain over the next week, however, is not predicting high amounts across most of the state.  Eastern and southeastern Indiana may miss out on much of these events through next Thursday.  However, current models are favoring another storm system to move in from the northwest by the end of next week.  If that holds true, then most of Indiana should be spared from too many drought concerns.  Climate outlooks are favoring above-normal precipitation over the next several weeks, though the probabilities are relatively low.  It is still hurricane season, however.  While Indiana is not within the typical track of hurricanes, several have known to enter the Midwest region as remnants of hurricanes.  These can still bring a lot of rainfall over a short period of time. While none of these storms are anticipated to impact Indiana anytime soon, do not rule these out for the rest of the season.  Due to the nature of these storm events, it is often difficult for climate outlooks to pick up these signals beyond a few weeks.

Can you believe that the July temperature averages in Indiana were near normal?  The month ended with such above-normal temperatures that our memories soon forget how mild the month actually was, otherwise.  The other explanation for how mild the temperatures were last month had to do with the use of the 1991-2020 period for comparison.  That 30-year period was already breaking temperature records, so now our “hot” months are being considered rather typical when considering climatological normal (i.e., 30-year) periods.  Temperatures are expected to stay near normal over the next several weeks, if not for the rest of August.  However, the seasonal outlook (that includes August through October) is slightly favoring above-normal temperatures for Indiana.

Modified accumulated growing degree days continue to lag behind the recent 30-year average for April 15th through August 2nd (Figures 2 and 3).

Figure 2. U.S. Drought Monitor status for Indiana based upon conditions through Tuesday, July 18, 2023.


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