Extreme Dryness in August for Much of Illinois

While the rains continue in northeastern Illinois, much of the rest of the state has been bone dry in August. Rainfall totals range from 3-5 inches in the Chicago area to less than an inch in many locations across central and southern Illinois. This band of dryness extends from southern Minnesota, eastern Iowa, Illinois, and into parts of Indiana and Kentucky (see first map).

Rainfall departures  are on the order of 1-2 inches below average in the driest areas. Some of those same areas received little rainfall in July. The US Drought Monitor has much of central and southern Illinois in at least “moderately dry” with “moderate drought” in the central region of the state.

Of particular concern to me is that the few opportunities for substantial rain in August across central Illinois have resulted in only scattered showers/thunderstorms at best. There is another chance of rain on Tuesday/Wednesday but the projected amounts are on the order of 0.25 inches or less.

Update: USDA, National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) released the following on Illinois topsoil moisture (percent) by crop reporting district:

District Very Short Short
 Northwest  4  21
 Northeast  –  18
 West  49  44
 Central  31  38
 East  40  44
 West Southwest  26  58
 East Southeast  13  46
 Southwest  20  40
 Southeast  30  56
 State  25  41
Rainfall across the Midwest for August 2011
Rainfall across the Midwest for August 1-22, 2011 (source: Midwestern Regional Climate Center). Click to enlarge.
Precipitation departure in the Midwest for August 2011
Rainfall departure from average in the Midwest for August 1-21, 2011 (source: Midwestern Regional Climate Center). Click to enlarge.
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