Not quite a drought, but it is dry

There has been no shortage of severe weather this season, but it hasn’t been accompanied by broad swaths of rain. Even after a wet spring, the Heartland is starting to get browner. The below normal spots are fairly piecemeal, which is a good indicator that isolated thunderstorms have roamed the country.

Below, see a comparison of the drought monitor from this week versus last week, and you can see just where the increasingly crispy lawns are located.

La Niña years tend to be drier years for a lot of the country, so there isn’t a lot to read into on this in terms of long term ramifications, but for the short term, it will may lead to a difficult growing season for some crops. Corn, famously, likes dry, hoy summers, and after the soggy spring, it’s coming around robustly in some parts of the Midwest.

There has been quite a lot of rain in the west of late, but as you can see, there was barely a dent in the drought. “dry” is different than “drought”. Dry can be turned around in short order with a couple of good rains. Drought is a lot stickier. It needs some above average rainy months or seasons in order to start making a dent. In fact, one really good rain storm might be counter productive, with run off and flash flooding becoming a problem on hard ground that is not capable of taking on the rain water.

It looks like the southwest will have a wet season, so that long term moisture will be good for recovery. Also note that there has been some retreat of the drought in northwest. It’s not necessarily a great outlook, but it’s a little better than it has been for a while. The drought in the west may lighten a bit, and by the end of July, Mississippi Valley lawns will be green again.

Leave a Reply