Moderate Drought Develops Across Parts of Northern Michigan

Several months of below normal precipitation have lead to the development of moderate drought conditions across portions of northern Michigan, most notably for areas along and south of a line from Harrisville to Houghton Lake. Meanwhile, much of the remainder of the area remains just shy of official drought status, instead falling in the category of "abnormally dry".

In the moderate drought areas, 60 to 90-day precipitation totals are currently running about 2-4 inches below normal (see image below), while temperatures have continued to run well above average. North of these locations, rainfall amounts have been fairly close to normal, or even slightly above, thanks to some well-timed rains, especially during the month of June. Still, with several extended periods of heat since May, conditions have at times become quite dry.

Why has this been occurring? Much of the late spring and summer thus far has featured a large area of high pressure parked throughout the central portions of the United States. Sinking air beneath this high pressure system has kept precipitation hard to come by, while also supplying plenty of sunshine and allowing for some very hot temperatures. With this set up in place for the past 3 months, it is not surprising that a very large portion of the country is in a severe drought due to the amazing lack of rain. Meanwhile, closer to our neck of the woods and on the fringe of that strong high pressure system, several bouts of showers and thunderstorms have made an appearance over the past few months. Meteorologists often refer to this setup as a "ring of fire" since complexes of thunderstorms typically track in an arc around the periphery of the strong high. It is this type of pattern that has thankfully kept the worst of the drought conditions well south of northern Michigan.

So, where do we head from here? As we look ahead into next weekend, several chances for some needed rain are noted, most likely tonight into early Tuesday, and again on Thursday and especially Saturday. Looking farther ahead, there appears to be a greater than average chance for temperatures to remain above normal through the month of August, but with fairly good chances for normal precipitation.

More information, including detailed soil moisture and temperature analysis, is available on our Drought Page or from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Current 60-Day Precipitation Departures

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Latest Michigan Drought Monitor

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