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View Full Version : Drought Monitor - How's Your Summer Going?



Gregg
8-11-12, 10:00am
This (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/12_week.gif) is the Drought Monitor from the University of Nebraska. Specifically, that is a link to the 12 week animation that pretty graphically shows the spread of the drought in the middle of the country. Twelve weeks ago my area was listed as abnormally dry, now we have moved up the scale to extreme drought. The corn crop around me looks like it should look in late October, dry and brown, only the ears of corn are very small and underdeveloped. Rain now won't save it, but there is none in the forecase. We are under mandatory water restrictions as of a few days ago. A group of us lobbied for that a month ago, but that's another thread. Thankfully a long string of 100*+ days broke and we are in the 80's for a few days. Slight chance of rain tonight, but no significant precip in the forecase. At least the cooler air feels good.

How's everyone elses summer going?

SteveinMN
8-11-12, 10:46am
Not sure where you are, Gregg (sometimes it sounds like it's around here), but central Minnesota is no longer in a drought. North and west of here, however, the stress on plants is all too apparent. Morning temperatures here have plummeted to around 60 degrees. Welcome relief after a very hot summer (for Minnesota).

JaneV2.0
8-11-12, 10:47am
Up here in the PNW we're having summer as usual. We call it August. We usually have a few hot days, but otherwise mellow temperatures. http://www.kolobok.us/smiles/artists/just_cuz/JC_fan.gif

Rogar
8-11-12, 11:42am
Here in the Denver burbs, the boil has slowed to a simmer. Nearly all days are still above average temps with July being the hottest on record, and at last check. close to the record most days over ninety for a summer. We get scattered showers around, but I can only recall two decent rains where I live since maybe early June. I haven't seen any recent updates for the eastern plains farmers, but would imagine they are still hurting. I have friends who raise cattle in eastern Colorado and they have had to get rid of most of them due to lack of grazing.

I was in the mountains a few times over the last two weeks and they were getting good rains most every day I was there, which will help recent fire risk, but there were very few wildflowers that are typical during late and mid-July.

Gregg
8-11-12, 12:41pm
Not sure where you are, Gregg (sometimes it sounds like it's around here)...

Not far from you Steve, in Nebraska.

We also had our driest July on record, which is obviously why the drought area expanded. For the whole month at my house we got .01" of rain. Just barely enough to get a clean car dirty again. The weather records we're breaking this year are most often from the dust bowl years. It is really amazing how many records for both heat and drought were set in the 1930's in this part of the country. Until now, that is.

catherine
8-11-12, 12:59pm
I was just talking about this with the owner of my local farm market and we were both saying how New Jersey dodged the bullet that much of the country has experienced this summer. I LOOVVEE my Jersey corn and tomatoes, and the both have been available and priced as normal. My back yard is actually green (and I don't water it). Yet, when we have rain it's just been a quick dumping. Luckily the dumplings have been spaced out enough and have infiltrated the soil enough to make a difference.

bae
8-11-12, 1:36pm
Pacific NW, colder and wetter than normal here still so far.

Our main reservoir for drinking water is near-full, it would normally be about 1/2 empty by this time of the year. It was completely full just two weeks ago when I was up there doing some work on the spillway, which sort of delayed the project. Our plan to do work on the bottom will have to be put off, unless we drain it ourselves, it's not going to happen on schedule before the normal rains resume.

And measurements at the vineyard here show us running way behind in degree-days this year. It was in the 50s last night, and it is ~65 degrees outside right now.

Maybe I can FedEx you some extra water? :-)

SteveinMN
8-11-12, 2:01pm
Luckily the dumplings have been spaced out enough and have infiltrated the soil enough to make a difference.
Cloudy with a chance of meatballs?

Darned autocorrect...:)

catherine
8-11-12, 2:07pm
Cloudy with a chance of meatballs?

Darned autocorrect...:)

haha!! Yes, New Jersey, the Garden & Dumpling State. (maybe I should go get lunch now)

Mrs-M
8-11-12, 2:12pm
Up here in the PNW we're having summer as usual. We call it August. We usually have a few hot days, but otherwise mellow temperatures. http://www.kolobok.us/smiles/artists/just_cuz/JC_fan.gifDid you steal that smiley from me, Jane? LOL!

Mrs-M
8-11-12, 2:31pm
http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/drought/nadm/nadm-201206.jpg

We're in the first white block (far left), right below the top grey zone. We're doing exceptionally well this year. Have had a tremendous amount of moisture, and as far as seasonal temperatures, go, we're cooler than past years, aside from right now, where we're experiencing a heatwave, but that's normal for this time of year.

Our regional district adopts water-restrictions each year, so no matter what sort of weather patterns/fronts we're having, the controlled and reserved use of water is always at the top as far as importance goes.

If you look at the next white block over from us (Province of Alberta), you will see they are abnormally dry. Not good for crops.

pinkytoe
8-11-12, 4:56pm
Central Texas (how did I end up way down here?) and 100 plus every day. It is 4pm and we are inside with all the blinds closed so that the AC doesn't have to work so hard. Area lakes are still only half full. Last decent rain was a month ago and that was a miracle. Seems mild though compared to last summer's drought and fires. The city is allowing us to water twice a a week again so the situation must be better.

goldensmom
8-11-12, 5:51pm
It's been hot (90-100+) and dry but rained gently and continuously Thursday through Saturday morning totaling 3+ inches. High temperature Thursday was 60 and Friday 57. The rain stopped and the sun came out at noon today and it is now 66. Most lovely and refreshing.

Lainey
8-11-12, 7:02pm
Phoenix AZ - in our 17th year of official drought. Do we have any mandatory water restrictions? No - that would take away our freedom to build our backyard pools or golf courses or use rainforest-type landscaping!

In fact, I haven't even heard anything on the news about even voluntary water restriction. Seems like no politician wants to be the first to even mention the "drought" word, much less do anything real about it.

puglogic
8-11-12, 9:01pm
As Rogar says, up here in the high country above Denver we have been getting our sprinklings of rain every day or two, much to our relief. Our water supply was drying up and the fires were scaring the bejeezus out of a lot of us who live in the fringy exurbs. Poor Colorado - look at all that red.

CathyA
8-11-12, 9:24pm
In central Indiana, we've been in the exceptional drought area. But we've had a bit of rain last week and it looks like we're on the border of extreme and exceptional now.
What's really weird about the weather this year is that a bunch of storms pass through with very intense centers, but they are very small areas scattered all over the state. Some area might get 2-5" of rain, while a place close to it doesn't get anything.
Very strange.

freein05
8-12-12, 12:15am
In the central Sierras it is dry and hot. A few of the dogwoods in the park are starting to turn to their fall colors. That is about 3 months early. The fir and pine trees are dropping their cones about 3 months before they ripen.

We had 2 dry lighting caused fires near us calFire got on then right away so they did not get out of control. The forest service has banned all campfires and smoking in the forest. I hope we get through this year without the big one.

Tussiemussies
8-12-12, 12:40am
We 're in NW NJ and everything is normal here. We took a little bit of a beating in early July but things got back on track.

So sorry for all those in such extreme weather conditions...hope the rain will come yor way soon...

artist
8-12-12, 7:42am
We were in drought. Then the rains came. Lots of flooding. Almost 5" of rain the past week alone. Got 2" yesterday. More on the way today. It's a blessing, but I'm concerned about what the drought conditions most of the summer and the massive amounts of rain now are doing to our crops. Hoping the fall crops do ok.

bunnys
8-12-12, 7:47am
I'm considered to be in a drought and it's getting worse even though it's been raining like crazy for the past several weeks. The only thing I can guess is that they're looking @ groundwater levels not just soil moisture...

rosarugosa
8-12-12, 8:08am
I guess we've been really lucky in Massachusetts - no drought, some hot days but nothing extraordinary. Wishing for some relief for those of you with the drought & heat wave conditions. New England tends to be a good place as far as climate extremes and natural disasters.

artist
8-12-12, 5:24pm
I'm in New Hampshire and it's not been a good year.


I guess we've been really lucky in Massachusetts - no drought, some hot days but nothing extraordinary. Wishing for some relief for those of you with the drought & heat wave conditions. New England tends to be a good place as far as climate extremes and natural disasters.

cattledog
8-12-12, 6:00pm
I live in MN. We managed to escape the drought. In fact, we've gotten a taste of September weather this past week. I have some relatives who are corn farmers. I imagine they will do well this year.

Blackdog Lin
8-12-12, 9:04pm
SE KS: a very hot and very dry July, but hey, this is July in Kansas, we get this most every year. I haven't been worrying about it, it's just par for the course in our neck of the woods. July and August = drought in SE KS. But perhaps it is worse than normal - we have no water restrictions from our town water supply (lake system); but in the paper today 3 area towns are going under restrictions - they all get their supply from the river, which is getting too low for supplying them all. Shutting down the town's swimming pools and all - I feel bad for all the kids with very little other recreation in these small towns other than the municipal swimming pool.

Rain is spotty: we got an inch a week ago; friends east of us got a good rain the other night, friends south of us got one two weeks ago. It's hit and miss. Depends on how and when the rain gods smile on you.

Against all odds, we've had one of our best gardening years ever. First green beans, and then tomatoes and okra (with a small but decent onion crop in-between). Don't understand it necessarily, but been taking advantage of it - the new pressure-canner has been going practically non-stop for 3 weeks.

The really good news is the heat wave has broke. From 100+teens temperatures for 3 weeks to a forecast of 88-92 all this next week. Plan to enjoy being able to get outside.....

dado potato
8-12-12, 9:26pm
Northern Highlands of WI is semi-forested, semi-agricultural. The forest looks healthy in these parts, but I think tree growth is just average, maybe a little less. The cornfields I drove by today were awesome. I think "our" corn farmers are going to make out like bandits this year. Hay and alfalfa have been abundant. Water levels in the flowages generally are low. The wild rice (manomin) is having the worst year my 64-year-old Ojibwa ricer friend has ever seen.

I am wondering about the Red River Valley. The 6/30 drought map showed "abnormally dry", which was concerning. Does anybody know how the red spring wheat crop is coming along... at this point?

jp1
8-12-12, 9:54pm
San Francisco here. Normal summer, cool but zero rain, which is normal. We had a fairly dry winter/spring so water level in Hetch Hetchy, our main reservoir, is below normal, but not anywhere near crisis point since we had a wet wet winter/spring last year and all the reservoirs got to 100%+.

Our CSA farm is south of the city 1 1/2 hours in Watsonville. Judging from the bountiful boxes of beautiful veggies they've had an excellent season this summer.

Tradd
8-12-12, 9:57pm
NE IL here. July very hot. August so far has been more normal, and we've been lucky to hit 80 the past few days. Spotty rain, but seems to be more than July at this point, anyway. Not far south of us is the extreme drought. We're moderate here.

Spartana
8-16-12, 2:16pm
Here in coastal southen Calif it's been a fairly cool. moist summer until a couple of weeks ago. Then the heat started - hot tropical humid type of heat with thunderstorms in the mountains and deserts rather than the more normal dry heat. Well over 100 inland and over 115 in the deserts and high 80's low 90's in the coastal areas. I generally HATE hot weather with a passion, especially the dry desert heat (hate, hate, hate!!!) but I don't mind the more humid tropical kind of heat we've been having here. Some clouds to break up monotony of endless blazing sunshine (it burnssss usss preciousss...) and the possibility of a thunderstorm. Of course, with everything being so dry, those thunder and lightning storms cause wildfires earlier then normal. I think the only place to be at this time of year is in the Pacific Northwest or coastal Northern Calif or New England. Everywhere else is hot and dry (this year) or hot and wet (all other years). But I don't think SoCal (coastal area) is in a drought condition yet - just abnormally dry. Since we never get any rain in summer or fall anyways, that is fairly normal.

Gregg
8-16-12, 3:02pm
The new data (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/) through last week is out now. The area of exceptional drought (highest rating) is expanding pretty quickly in the middle of the country. We were supposed to have a chace of rain this morning. Clouds, lightning & thunder, but not a drop. The air is so dry it all evaporated before it hit the ground. Good news is a cold front passed so we're in the high 70's for the next 4 or 5 days.

887

Spartana
8-16-12, 5:38pm
Scary stuff!! I hear that drought conditions are even worse in many other countries. Is anyone here stocking up on extra food and water in case prices rise too high? I have been (with my new Costco membership card!!). I'm not a prepper type but even this is starting to concern me. That coupled with rising fuel prices (around $4.20/gal here in SoCal for regular) may make many foods very expensive in coming months since most of this years crops are probably distroyed because of the drought.

razz
8-17-12, 10:55am
Dry Gardening approach sounds interesting.
http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-08-14/farming-without-water

Gregg
8-17-12, 11:55am
Is anyone here stocking up on extra food and water in case prices rise too high?

I'm not a prepper per se, but do like to keep the pantry well stocked, especially with items that have a long shelf life. Drought and other wide spread climate conditions have a bigger effect the higher up the food chain you go. If you eat corn and the price goes up what you pay for it is a direct relationship to what it costs. If you eat steak it takes about 7 pounds of that corn to make a pound of steak so the effect gets multiplied. Meat and dairy are usually the areas that experience the most drastic price hikes. Unfortunately for those of us who are not vegan those are also the kinds of food that are the most difficult and expensive to store long term. My local store recently had a sale on canned beans (8 different kinds) at 5 cans/$1.00. It's been a long time since they were that cheap so I stocked up. Those will last a long time and are cheap to store because they don't require any refrigeration. I always tend to stock up when sales like that come along, but they are getting fewer and farther between. Having a garden and knowing how to preserve the harvest just seems to get more important with each year that goes by.

RosieTR
8-17-12, 11:35pm
Phoenix AZ - in our 17th year of official drought. Do we have any mandatory water restrictions? No - that would take away our freedom to build our backyard pools or golf courses or use rainforest-type landscaping!

In fact, I haven't even heard anything on the news about even voluntary water restriction. Seems like no politician wants to be the first to even mention the "drought" word, much less do anything real about it.

When I was in Phx I heard a talk by a water manager from (I think) Glendale. She explained how Phoenix owns water rights from like 4 different sources, starting with the Salt River and going from there. I don't now remember them all. In any case, she also mentioned Phoenix has never had water restrictions, ever. I couldn't believe people watering their lawns at like 2pm when it was 115F with a 15 mph wind! But that's what happens. All those reservoirs would have to be pretty low though, to scare most of the folks there.

RosieTR
8-17-12, 11:42pm
Northern CO here. The temps are way better than June (about 100F +/- 5F nearly every day) but the lakes/reservoirs are really, really low. Lots of mud flats with grass growing. We were worried some of the rivers would run dry for the first time ever but it did manage to rain before that. We've had a few rain storms but mostly just sprinkles here and there. It's been smoky almost every day since early June: first from the fires in CO, then from fires in WY, now from fires in ID. The first snowfall will be a blessing for most of us in the West!

bae
8-18-12, 12:16am
I get regular weather updates from the Ag Weather service from Washington State U. It is often the most useful report, especially if you are raising crops. Looks like most of the state here is still in a bit of a pickle. Hot temps, no rain for a month or so, fire danger in some places is very very high now.



Despite a degree of temperature moderation in western Washington this weekend, extremely hot weather will persist east of the Cascades. Saturday will be the hottest day of the period, with highs above 100 across much of central Washington, and in the 90s in eastern Washington around Pullman. Western Washington will be in the upper 70s to 80s, except upper 60s at the coast. Sunday will be slightly cooler, though still uncomfortable east of the Cascades. Highs will fall into the 90s to low 100s east of the Cascades, and 70s to low 80s in interior western Washington. Low temperatures will be in the 50s to around 60 in western and eastern Washington, and 60s to low 70s in central Washington. There will be a chance of high-based thunderstorms on Saturday, which could spark more fires in the tinder dry environment. No appreciable rain has fallen in Washington during August, and some areas have been rain-free for longer than one month.

CathyA
8-18-12, 8:56am
We're still officially in a drought, but 2 days ago, it rained most of the day!! YAAHOOOO!
(The down side is we have to mow the lawn (weeds) now. But that's a small price to pay.
My garden no longer is weedless. Things really grow fast once they get some water.

Spartana
8-18-12, 1:51pm
I'm not a prepper per se, but do like to keep the pantry well stocked, especially with items that have a long shelf life. Drought and other wide spread climate conditions have a bigger effect the higher up the food chain you go. If you eat corn and the price goes up what you pay for it is a direct relationship to what it costs. If you eat steak it takes about 7 pounds of that corn to make a pound of steak so the effect gets multiplied. Meat and dairy are usually the areas that experience the most drastic price hikes. Unfortunately for those of us who are not vegan those are also the kinds of food that are the most difficult and expensive to store long term. My local store recently had a sale on canned beans (8 different kinds) at 5 cans/$1.00. It's been a long time since they were that cheap so I stocked up. Those will last a long time and are cheap to store because they don't require any refrigeration. I always tend to stock up when sales like that come along, but they are getting fewer and farther between. Having a garden and knowing how to preserve the harvest just seems to get more important with each year that goes by.


I just stocked up on a bunch of beans and water myself. They are part of my earthquake supply so aren't really for eating. But I will preobably stock up on regular stuff once I get back to SoCal (going on another road trip tomorrow). Not sure if prices will rise by enough to make that necessary or not but it can't hurt.

awakenedsoul
8-18-12, 4:44pm
I buy things on sale, too. Tuna, dog jerky treats, flour, sugar, etc. I just got a box of produce from my organic co op and it was brimming with beautiful produce: pluots, cantaloupe, lettuce, bell peppers, green beans, fresh basil, potatoes, and lots of tomatoes. All that for $22.00. They do a great job, and they're really generous. The grass fed beef, raw milk and cheese that I buy are pricey, but I just try to use less. The meat is so flavorful that I can use a half a pound in a recipe for spaghetti sauce, or stuffed peppers. Same with the cheese, a little goes a long way. I plan to continue planting fruit trees. They really help reduce costs. I've been making lemonade all year with my frozen meyer lemon juice. I used to spend a lot of money on juice every month. This is my first year growing melons; I'm going to put some more seeds in the ground this weekend. The vegetable garden has given me plenty of produce every day. I just use the co op now and then so that I can buy their other products.

Square Peg
8-18-12, 7:57pm
Bae, I really thought we would get a break from forest fires this years, since the winter and spring were so wet, but it really dried up quickly.

I am out on the Palouse in eastern Washington and we are having a great year for our crops. Wheat is fetching good prices because the midwest's crop is so bad.

We were just in MOntana and I was reading that cherry farmers there are having to leave their cherries to die on the tree because WA and OR's crops were late this year, and the big buyers were still buying from them and leaving MT in a spot.