By Jon Erdman | From Weather.com | On Jul 13, 2012
The drought in the nation’s Corn Belt continues to worsen, according to a just-released report.
Roughly 61% of the contiguous United States is now officially in drought, or roughly 3.1 million square miles, according to the July 10 release of the Drought Monitor from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Drought Mitigation Center.
Drought covers parts of 42 states, with only Alaska, New Jersey and the New England states completely drought-free.
Growth in U.S. drought from May 8 through July 10, 2012. Most dire drought conditions indicated by darker red and brown shadings.
Conditions continue to deteriorate across the nation’s heartland, with drought expanding into the Great Lakes, and becoming “exceptional” in parts of Arkansas and the Lower Ohio Valley.
The late June/early July heat wave, coupled with persistent dry weather has taken it toll on the corn crop. Thirty percent of the corn crop in 18 primary corn-producing states is now either in poor or very poor condition. Half the country’s pastures and ranges are now in either poor or very poor condition, up from 28% rated as such in June.
According to the National Weather Service, Indianapolis, Ind. is suffering the longest dry spell in 104 years. From June 1 through July 12, a scant 0.09″ of rain has fallen, there. Average rainfall through that period is just over 6 inches!
Precipitation rankings from April through June 2011 (record wettest states) vs. same period in 2012 (among driest on record).
This is a stunning turn of events compared to a year ago.
According to the National Climatic Data Center, last April through June was the record wettest in four states: Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan. It was also the second wettest in Illinois, and among the top 10 wettest such periods in Arkansas and Tennessee.
This April through June was the record driest in Arkansas, second driest in Indiana, and among the top 10 driest in Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
Through July 12, Paducah, Ky. has picked up about 34″ of rain less this year-to-date compared to last year-to-date! Last spring…the second highest crest on the Ohio River in Paducah. This spring/summer…a rainfall deficit of over 14 inches.
Rain Next 2 Days:
Any Relief Ahead?
The best chance for drought-relieving rainfall over the next week will lie from South Texas to the Ohio Valley. Over the next 5-7 days, rainfall amounts of over 1 inch are possible in these areas.
Having said that, summer’s thunderstorms are of a hit-or-miss nature, so while one area may get soaked with several inches of rain in just a few hours, other nearby locations may not pick up a drop of rain.
Unfortunately, parts of the Plains from the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma and Kansas potentially eastward into Illinois and Indiana may see little significant rainfall over the next 5-7 days.
Coupled with building heat, drought conditions may continue to deteriorate in these areas as we head toward what is, climatologically speaking, the hottest time of the year.
This article was originally posted at http://www.weather.com/news/weather-forecast/drought-worsens-corn-belt-20120712