Andrew Westfall column sig

Indiana has been a little on the dry side for much of 2020. Fortunately until now, this has been accompanied by cooler weather.

That has changed in the past week or two and with higher temperatures comes increased evaporation, and we are finally beginning to notice signs of just how dry it is. Do we have any relief in sight?

Here is an excerpt from an article written by state climatologist Beth Hall, who states, “Indiana has been very dry the last several weeks and conditions are starting to show in lawns and fields. This dryness has been exacerbated by low humidity and warmer temperatures.

“The short-term forecast is calling for a slight chance of precipitation over the next seven days, but expect it to be light and spotty. The good news is the climate outlooks for the rest of June is showing increased probabilities of above normal precipitation, but will it be enough to compensate for the deficit we have been facing these past few weeks?

“It is too early to know for sure, but there are no major storm systems on the horizon, nor jet stream patterns that indicate a lot of precipitation is on its way.”

In summary, current models are showing that things should get back to normal soon, and perhaps even be wetter than normal come July. This could be great news for farmers, who given the choice would much rather have a dry June than July/August when crops are pollinating and grain is beginning to fill.

This will remain to be seen and things can change quickly, but for now there is hope that we are not on the horizon of a full-fledged drought.

If you are interested in keeping up with Indiana weather and monitoring its status of drought, I recommend visiting the website of the Indiana State Climate Office at: https://ag.purdue.edu/indiana-state-climate. Aside from typical climate tools such as radars, climate maps, and outlooks, you also have access to a host of tools that are meant to help Indiana farmers, gardeners, and even novice weather watchers.

Included are soil temperature and moisture data from weather stations across Indiana and the Midwest, frost/freeze information, monitoring of pests and plant diseases as they move across the area, and up-to-date information on growing degree days, which are measurements of heat accumulation that are used to predict crop and insect development.