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Pattern Changes, Increasing Drought

7 Jul 2012, 1:01 pm

Increasing Drought

As dry conditions continue across the upper Midwest, the plants are suffering. Crops are shorter than average and gardners are trying to come up with creative ideas to keep their crops hydrated.

Photo From: Bob Dluzen of the Detroit News

is a gardener with more than 40 years of experience.


 Bob says, “The soil in my garden is so dry it has become hydrophobic. This means the water,  instead of soaking into the ground, beads up on the surface like water on a newly-waxed car hood.  So when I try to syringe a plant, instead of going down into the soil where the plant can use it, the water just runs off into the garden path. This is a common problem in many soils when they get too dry.”

Read more about Bob’s techniques in gardening with dry soil here.

 Although the heat wave is beginning to come to an end, it is still very dry.  Drought conditions may become an increasing problem. This is the latest drought map from the US Drought Monitor showing that 55.96% of the country is in one of the categories ranging from D1 to D4.  That is up from 51.13% last week and way up from only 28.08% last year.  However it should also be noted that less of the country is in exceptional drought category (D4).  Last year that included 11.94% of the nation and now that is down to a mere 0.60%.  These statistics do not include Alaska and Hawaii.

From NBC News: “The prolonged heat across the Midwest has not only set temperature records, it is also expanding and intensifying drought conditions — and relief isn’t on the horizon for most areas, the National Weather Service reported Thursday. Drought conditions are present in 56 percent of the continental U.S., according to the weekly Drought Monitor. That’s the most in the 12 years that the data have been compiled, topping the previous record of 55 percent set on Aug. 26, 2003. It’s also up five percentage points from the previous week.”

The outlook is a bit bleak as most areas will be dealing with the expansion of the drought.

In the short term, a dry and warm weather pattern will continue for most of the nation.  The 8 to 14 day outlooks show the continuation of warm weather across the northern US as well as very little additional rain in the areas that need it most. The first map shows the probability of below average rainfall in the brown and above average rain in the green.

This next map shows the probability of below average temperatures in the blue and above average temperatures in the orange.  The Great Lakes region will more than likely remain warm while the southern plains will be slightly cooler than normal.

Immediate Heat Relief

It’s been hot and continues to stay hot today!

This headline from the Chicago Sun-Times via says it all:

In the near future, there is some relief from the extreme heat.  That is coming with a change in the weather pattern that will be featuring a more northerly (as opposed to southerly) flow across the upper Midwest.  Throughout this past week, a dome of high pressure sitting over the Central Plains has been drawing up warm and most air from the south with it’s clockwise circulation.  Now, as a ridge of high pressure develops over the Western US instead, the air will be coming from the North (where it’s cooler) for most of the Northern Plains.  This will result in high temperatures returning to their seasonal averages.

 See map below from the NWS Minneapolis for further details:

With the temperatures dropping through the next couple of days, people that have been hibernating in the AC can finally venture out again!

Severe Threat

As this cooler air continues to advance southward, storms will be firing up.  That will bring some storms to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Region.  Also watching for a pocket of severe weather in the South.  The main threat with each of these areas will be strong winds, as we have seen with recent storms.

Today’s Severe Threat

Tomorrow’s Severe Threat

Dog Days of Summer

Bryan Karrick brought his lab Chase into the WeatherNation studios today and decided to talk about the Dog Days of Summer, considered to be July 3 and August 11. These are considered to be the 40 warmest days for the Northern Hemisphere as classified by the Ancient Romans who associated the hot weather with the appearance of Sirius the Dog Star. Stay tuned to WeatherNationTV today to see the segment on the Dog Days of Summer!

Stay tuned here for more!

Meteorologist Gretchen Mishek

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