The U.S. Drought Monitor issued their weekly report and as expected “moderate drought” conditions have expanded to just over 30% of the state. The driest locations in all of the Midwest are in central, west and south-central Indiana since mid-August. Deficits since August 19th have surpassed 5″ and are approaching a whopping 6″ below normal. Indianapolis is included among the driest and in the deemed “moderate drought” conditions.
This is a historic dry spell and after scanning weather records have found not only is this the DRIEST open to a autumn on record but the driest weather over the past 51 days with just over a tenth of an inch of rain. Weather records date back to 1871.
Rainfall chances are still on hold for now and as we expressed in our forecasts all week long, rainfall from current category three “Delta” looked very slim. Trends off overnight long-range machine forecasts are trending toward our thinking.
At this time the next best “chance” of rain comes later Monday but the swift moving front will not let the rain linger long and amounts are not high. Unfortunately the drought conditions will worsen.
There are five levels of dry conditions issued by the agency. So what do they mean.
ABNORMALLY DRY: “D0”
|Dryland crops and rangeland are stressed|
|Lawns are brown; gardens are watered more frequently|
MODERATE DROUGHT: “D1”
|Crop growth is stunted; supplemental feed for livestock begins|
|Blue-green algae blooms appear|
|Creek and pond levels are low|
SEVERE DROUGHT” “D2”
Corn and soybeans are in poor condition; irrigation increases; hay and crop yields are low
|Wildlife encroach on urban areas for water|
|Lawns go dormant|
|County-level burn bans are implemented; brush fires occur more frequently|
|Creeks, ponds and wetlands are dry; lake levels drop; well levels are low; water restrictions begin|
EXTREME DROUGHT: “D3”
|Corn is a total loss with no ears; corn is cut for feed; soybeans are severely dry; supplemental hay for livestock is increased; other row crops are impacted|
|Farmers’ markets are curtailed or canceled|
|Fireworks are banned; fire departments are strained|
|Gardening businesses struggle|
|Trees and shrubs show drought stress or are dying; deer disease increases; fish kills occur; vegetation is dying|
|Lake and reservoir levels are very low|
EXTREME DROUGHT: “D4”
|Farmers sell cattle; feed costs are high; producers haul hay from outside of the state|
|Communities and businesses tied to water activities and agriculture experience economic losses|
|Water restrictions are implemented statewide; water shortage warnings are issued statewide|