In March at The Ohio State Weather Symposium, I presented a paper on the conditions that preceded the Drought of 2012 and how those conditions set the stage for the summer of 2012. You can scroll through my POWERPOINT here. Its loaded with graphics that give a chronology leading up to last summer.
Last summer and the summers before it (2011 and 2010) are still fresh in everyone's mind. All three were above normal. Each one featured different degrees of heat. 2010 & 2011 had consistent heat. Last summer featured about 3 solid weeks of oppressive heat in late June and early July with 28 days in the 90s by mid September. So its nature to think that this summer will be just as hot right? Not necessarily. Why is this summer setting up to be different than last summer? The answer lies partially in the amount and location of the spring rains.
Take a look at the Long Term Drought Indicator. This map blends a bunch of variables to include soil moisture, short term and long term precipitation, ground water and reservoir water levels. Last year's indicator for late June is on the left; this year is on the right.
SEE MY POWER POINT) while this year, above normal spring rains across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and parts of Missouri are in great shape. Spring heat was absent so evaporation of soil moisture didn't occur as rapidly as it did in 2012. Look at the temperatures from March through May in 2012 and this year: POLAR OPPOSITES!
Remember that almost 50% of our 90 degree days occur in July so we have a lot of summer left.
1. This summer is starting out much different than the summer of 2012.
2. The soil conditions and accumulative rainfall in the central US and across Ohio are far better.
3. They favor more frequent breaks from the 90 degree heat into the first 10 days of July. As long as we continue with frequent rainfall, this pattern could stick around longer. We'll watch carefully as we head into 4th of July week and beyond!