What is usually the rainiest month of the year in Missouri has been anything but, and a University of Missouri climatologist says the situation could soon be dire.
Some parts of the Bootheel have had less than 2 inches of rain since April 1. Pat Guinan says that region is on the verge of recording its dryest April and May period since 1895, and those conditions have been spreading.
“During the month of May this dryness began to spread northwestward, impacting south-central parts of the state, and then more recently over the past two to three weeks, pretty much the entire state is having to deal with a very dry situation: what I like to call a ‘flash drought.’ Already we have officially severe drought conditions impacting the Bootheel counties.”
Pat Guinan says other factors are compounding matters.
“We’ve seen unusually high rates of moisture loss in the soil profile and through vegetation because there’s a lot of sunshine, low humidities and high temperatures. That really sort of ramps up the situation and makes it more dire.”
The last few days in much of the state have brought seasonable temperatures, but Guinan says beginning today hotter readings could kill off some struggling crops.
“If we don’t receive any significant rain events over the next several days and we have temperatures that are up into the 90s, that’s going to really create some severe stress on some dry vegetation.”
Guinan says some forecasts models show cooler temperatures and significant precipitation in Missouri next week that could provide needed relief for crops.
AUDIO: Mike Lear interviews Pat Guinan, 10:21