mostlycloudy
Sunday July 5th, 2015 1:34PM

Forecast: Hot, dry weather to linger into fall

By The Associated Press
UNDATED - The hot dry weather that has gripped the nation will not let up its stranglehold over the next few months, federal weather forecasters said Thursday.

And that means the heartland's "flash drought" will linger at least until around Halloween and even spread a bit farther north and east.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's outlook for August through October shows that nearly every state likely will have hotter than normal temperatures. Much of the Midwest is likely to be drier than normal, too.

"It certainly is grim news for us in Illinois and other parts of the Midwest," said Illinois state climatologist Jim Angel. "I kind of have given up hope for short-term relief."

New figures released Thursday show that the percentage of the country now suffering from drought edged up from nearly 51 percent last week to more than 53 percent this week; the chunk of the country experiencing severe drought or worse rose in one week from 31 percent to 35 percent. Experts call it a flash drought because it developed in a matter of months, not multiple seasons.

"It's really unpleasant," said drought specialist Kelly Helm Smith at the National Drought Mitigation Center in Nebraska. She said relief "is not on the radar that I'm aware of."

For the Midwest, forecasters don't see any improvement until at least past October. In fact, if the weather phenomenon El Nino forms as predicted, that means even more dry weather next winter for the Midwest and North, said seasonal forecaster Dan Collins of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center in Maryland.

NOAA's forecast for just the month of August indicates a high probability for little rain for all or parts of 15 states that are the epicenter of the drought. That region encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Iowa and the states generally surrounding them.

All told, 42 states or parts of them have been hit by the drought. A NOAA map shows it stretches from California east to Ohio and from Texas north to Minnesota. Tiny pockets of drought also dot the East, including much of Georgia and South Carolina.

The forecast for the next three months would push the drought farther north into Minnesota, North Dakota and Michigan, and farther east into Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia. But in the Southwest, especially Arizona and New Mexico, and to a lesser degree Colorado and Utah, the drought will ease a bit. And the eastern drought pockets are also likely to improve a bit.

NOAA is also forecasting more triple-digit hot weather for several days starting Saturday for much of the Midwest from Kansas and Nebraska to Indiana and Michigan, with temperatures about 12 degrees hotter than normal. And that will make the drought even worse, forecasters say.

One of the main problems is the heat and lack of moisture are in a feedback loop. The ground is so dry that there's not enough moisture in the soil to evaporate into the atmosphere to cause rainfall. And that means hotter, drier air.

Illinois' Angel said the best chance for significant rain is going to come from the remnants of tropical storms or hurricanes that push into the Midwest, something that doesn't happen often.

"That's how desperate we are," Angel said.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 2 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 2 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Back at work: Congress facing busy agenda, funding deadline
WASHINGTON (AP) — After July Fourth fireworks and parades, members of Congress return to work Tuesday facing a daunting summer workload and a pending deadline to fund the government or risk a shutdown...
12:35PM ( 59 minutes ago )
Police: Man shoots off firework from top of his head, dies
CALAIS, Maine (AP) — A young man who was drinking and celebrating the Fourth of July tried to launch a firework off the top of his head, fatally injuring himself, authorities said Sunday.Devon Staples...
11:01AM ( 2 hours ago )
Obama: Freedom is paid for by men and women of US military
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says U.S. service members make it possible to enjoy the "incredible blessings" in the greatest country on earth.He says "freedom is not free" but is paid for b...
12:45AM ( 12 hours ago )
At least 14 hurt in deck collapse at North Carolina beach
EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (AP) — A deck collapsed at a North Carolina beach house as a family got set to take a group photo Saturday evening, leaving at least 14 people injured with two of those in critical...
11:58PM ( 13 hours ago )
Gay marriage opponents propose 2 Colorado ballot measures
DENVER (AP) — Opponents of gay marriage have proposed two Colorado ballot measures in response to the Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide.One measure would rede...
7:06PM ( 18 hours ago )