Metro Detroit inching toward drought conditions

Michigan needs rain - and lots of it

By Paul Gross - Meteorologist

DETROIT - We.  Need.  Rain.  

Yes, we’ve had a lot of great recreational weather this month, but as you can see on the Drought Monitor map below (which is updated weekly), the area of Abnormally Dry conditions has expanded across southern lower Michigan, with an area of Moderate Drought now showing up for the first time.  And given my forecast for the next week, that drought area likely will get larger. (See map above)

Officially at Metro Airport, we have received only 0.90 inches of rain this month.  The long-term average for the entire month of September is 3.27”, so you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that we have a severe rainfall deficit.

And take a look as the calendar below.  As you can see, we have only had rain on five of the twenty-five days so far this month, but that’s not the whole story.  Of the 0.90 inches of total rain this month, 0.80 inches fell on two days:  the 4th and 19th.  That means we have only received 0.10 inches of rain on the remaining twenty-three days of the month through today.  That doesn’t get the job done.

We have a cold front approaching late Tuesday night but, at the present time, it’s possible that this front will cross the area mostly dry with just a few scattered showers.  Aside from a scattered light shower chance on Friday, there is no more rain in our forecast through the middle of next week.

The reason I am particularly concerned is that we need to recharge our soil moisture before the ground freezes for winter.  You see, when the ground is frozen, any rain or melting snow that occurs just runs off…it doesn't soak into the ground.  So, when we finally thaw in the spring, there would be no soil moisture reserve to tap into if we have a dry spring.  Should that happen then, barring a very stormy, wet summer, we’d head into next summer in near drought conditions.

There is still plenty of time left to get some soaking rains before the ground freezes.  Let’s hope we do.

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