WASHINGTON (AP) — The unusually hot dry weather that has
gripped the nation will not let up its stranglehold over the next few
months, federal weather forecasters said Thursday.
And that means
the heartland's "flash drought" will linger at least until around
Halloween and even spread a bit farther north and east.
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's outlook for August through
October shows that nearly every state likely will have hotter than normal
temperatures. Much of the Midwest is likely to be drier than normal, too.
is grim news for us in Illinois and other parts of the Midwest," said
Illinois state climatologist Jim Angel. "I kind of have given up hope for
released Thursday show that the percentage of the country now suffering
from drought edged up from nearly 51 percent last week to more than 53
percent this week; the chunk of the country experiencing severe drought or
worse rose in one week from 31 percent to 35 percent. Experts call it a
flash drought because it developed in a matter of months, not multiple
unpleasant," said drought specialist Kelly Helm Smith at the National
Drought Mitigation Center in Nebraska. She said relief "is not on the
radar that I'm aware of."
Midwest, forecasters don't see any improvement until at least past
October. In fact, if the weather phenomenon El Nino forms as predicted,
that means even more dry weather next winter for the Midwest and North,
said seasonal forecaster Dan Collins of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center
forecast for just the month of August indicates a high probability for
little rain for all or parts of 15 states that are the epicenter of the
drought. That region encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Iowa and
the states generally surrounding them.
All told, 42
states or parts of them have been hit by the drought. A NOAA map shows it
stretches from California east to Ohio and from Texas north to Minnesota.
Tiny pockets of drought also dot the East, including much of Georgia and
for the next three months would push the drought farther north into
Minnesota, North Dakota and Michigan, and farther east into Pennsylvania,
New York and West Virginia. But in the Southwest, especially Arizona and
New Mexico, and to a lesser degree Colorado and Utah, the drought will
ease a bit. And the eastern drought pockets are also likely to improve a
NOAA is also
forecasting more triple-digit hot weather for several days starting
Saturday for much of the Midwest from Kansas and Nebraska to Indiana and
Michigan, with temperatures about 12 degrees hotter than normal. And that
will make the drought even worse, forecasters say.
One of the
main problems is the heat and lack of moisture are in a feedback loop. The
ground is so dry that there's not enough moisture in the soil to evaporate
into the atmosphere to cause rainfall. And that means hotter, drier air.
Angel said the best chance for significant rain is going to come from the
remnants of tropical storms or hurricanes that push into the Midwest,
something that doesn't happen often.
desperate we are," Angel said.
seasonal drought outlook: