Add up all the numbers and look at the states as a whole, and by the book, Indiana's weather looks pretty normal for summer 2013. That's the word from Ken Scheeringa, associate Indiana state climatologist.
The problem, of course, is that summer came in two halves in most areas – a wet early part, especially in June, followed by a dry end, running through August. Climatologists count meteorological summer as June, July and August. This time the dry spell continued all the way until Sept. 19, when significant rainfall fell over almost all of Indiana.
The most rain, up to 4 inches, fell in northwest Indiana, where it was the driest. Northwest counties were appearing on the U.S. Drought Monitor map, and the area was creeping southeastward. This week's maps, issued tomorrow, should show improvement after last week's rain event.
August actually averaged 0.6 of one degree F below normal, even though it didn't feel below normal on August 27 or 28, the week of the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill. While this is Indiana data, temperature is much more consistent over a wider area compared to rainfall.
Meanwhile, the state of Indiana received on average 1.95 inches of rain than normal in August, or only 49% of normal. That makes it the third-driest August on record. That's why farmers with soybeans trying to fill pods during that period, which extended into September, are concerned about yield prospects.
For the entire summer, including June, July and August, it was 0.9 degrees F cooler than normal across the state, Scheeringa says. And Indiana on a statewide basis received 95% of normal rainfall during the three-month summer period.
So if you look back in a few years, it may be difficult to understand why soybean yields weren't outstanding in 2013. Corn yields may still be good, although there may have been some potential lost late in the season.