After A Record Dry September, Some Relief on the Way
by Cody Matz
October 11, 2012 7:59 PM
Another Thursday and another drought monitor telling us something we already know… its dry! So dry in fact that its now been 2 months since Pierre has recorded any measurable precipitation. That is likely one of the longest streaks ever, even though those records aren’t officially tallied. But even if its not, that’s a really long time without rainfall. It finally appears though that some is on the way. Now lets just get one thing clear, this is not going to end the drought…. Not even close. But we have to take whatever we can get at this point so some scattered showers and thunderstorms will be a pretty welcome site around here despite the fact that it lands on a weekend.
Lets talk about the month of September first. Below is a look at the amount of precipitation seen through each state in the U.S. compared to amount of years records have been kept (118). The red shaded states, coming in at #1, are states that experienced their driest September on record.
The difference in precipitation from state to state can really be stunning. While the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Montana had their driest Septembers on record, Ohio and Kentucky had nearly their wettest Septembers on record. The next image breaks down the regions even further with pieces of each state forming a region and showing the parts in every state that had the least or most precipitation.
In South Dakota, it was the northern and western parts of the state that experienced the record drought with the south and east fairing a little better. But remember, as a whole, it was the driest September ever for the state. Now that we are in October, we need some rain. But unfortunately, very little has fallen so far. A look at the total precipitation for the month doesn’t show anything promising with many areas only getting a trace so far.
But there is some hope. A new storm will be moving out of the desert southwest, pulling in lots of Gulf of Mexico moisture as it moves northeast, and with any luck will dump it across the area. Now recent forecast computer model trends are showing less rainfall in our area because of drier mid level air that’s intruding on the storm, which effectively cuts of the rain from falling in the southern and western sectors of the storm. However, most of the models we use are very indecisive at where the rain will fall so could really vary from an inch or two of rain, to just a few hundredths. Here is a rainfall forecast for the United States for the 48-hour period from Thursday night through Sunday night, produced by the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.
The potential is there for some decent rain, unfortunately though it looks like not everyone will be getting wet. For the southeast, generally a tenth to upwards of a half inch will be possible. But remember, this is just one forecast for rainfall and these storms can change very quickly as they move in. Just keep your fingers crossed.