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Serving: IN

Welcome Rain vs. Drought Breaker

Welcome Rain vs. Drought Breaker
What would it take to consider the drought broken?

Before any rain fell Friday, all 92 Indiana counties were in drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor showed that for the first time this year, all 92 counties were in some form of drought as of last Thursday. Counties in the northeast, southwest and south-central part of the state were rated for extreme drought, second highest level in the rating system. Parts of Vanderburgh and Posey Counties were in the exceptional drought rating, the most intense rating that the system uses.

Welcome Rain vs. Drought Breaker

In the southwest some areas were 13 inches below normal for precipitation for the year, and some areas in the northeast were 11 to 12 inches below normal. This data is supplied by Austin Pearson of the Indiana State Climate Office.

Areas that got rain this past weekend can thank a slight shift in the Jet Stream, Pearson says. It had been creating a dome of high-heat over the state and blocking moistu5re from coming up from the Gulf of Mexico; That's where a majority of Indiana's moisture normally comes from.

Pearson expressed concern that when the rain arrives in the form of thunderstorms, too much rain could fall too quickly in spots, leading to a lot of runoff and minimal infiltration into the parched soil.

The overriding concern is that it will take more than a few storms to truly break the drought. Pearson says. It will likely take several sufficient rains over a long period to get Indiana out of the hot, dry trend, he says.

Right now, he still doesn't see a major pattern break that will end the hot dry trend that has existed for a long time. It has been warmer than normal statewide since Nov. 1, often by hefty variations. It has been drier than normal statewide since February, with many areas recivi9ng little more than a trace of rain in June.

Normal rainfall for July is around 4 inches. The last two weeks of July helped break the grip of the 1988 drought, when just over the average of 4 inches was recorded, followed by more than 3 inches in August. Let's hope history repeats itself.
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