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It's been dry. Dry dry dry. (I type this while it is raining, but still - this may be the first good, prolonged, soaking rain, rather than flash downpour, we've had in months. Here's hoping.)

The Ann Arbor News says that area farmers are calling this the driest summer in living memory - ouch. "In southeast Michigan - where sweet and feed corn, soybeans, wheat and hay are common field crops - precipitation totals for June and July aren't much different than normal. But because the rain has come in short, heavy bursts followed by long, dry periods, it's done little good for growers anxiously checking their plants and weather reports."

    Geeky data resources, for my own re-finding convenience:

  • The University of Nebraska, Lincoln, maintains the US Drought Monitor map - more than half the country is currently in drought, and we're getting it fairly mild. Sorry, SoCal and Alabama.
  • The MSU AgWeather Office maintains rain gauges around the state, with last week, 2 week, 4 week, and growing season accumulations, plus deviation from normal. As the News notes, our area doesn't look bad in total accumulation - but it's been distributed badly.
  • The USGS maintains stream flow gauges around the state, and has a real-time map of flow-relative-to-normal. There are lots and lots of "< 10th percentile" and the even lower "low" colored dots on the map. (Also in table form.)

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I understand it's worse in SW MI.

Even farmers with wells ... I read recently where a farmer in CA paid $8000 a month for electricity to run his powerful sprinkler system!


The link to the drought monitor, above, shows SW Michigan at "Severe Drought", while we're only "Moderate".

Even cooler, though, check out the 12-week drought animation, and watch the creeping dryness!