‘Flash drought’ could hit Illinois and Indiana in coming weeks – NBC Chicago

While sunny, warm conditions will be perfect for all of the Memorial Day weekend gatherings and events, parts of the Chicago area may soon experience a “flash drought” after one of the driest Mays ever. recorded.

According to the National Weather Service, parts of the Chicago metro area, particularly in the western and southern parts of the city and suburbs, have not seen “appreciable rainfall” since early April and as a result there are fears more and more that a drought could soon set in.

Officials cited soil moisture measurements at four inches and eight inches into the ground, as well as river flows in the area, issuing an alert that a “flash drought” could potentially be imminent.

According to officials, a flash drought occurs when dry soil and waterway conditions rapidly intensify. This can be triggered when precipitation rates drop, as well as when temperatures remain above normal for long periods.

The former situation is the driving force this time around, with the last significant rainfall in Chicago occurring on May 8. However, not all parts of the metro area experienced this type of precipitation as this system moved through the region.

Officials say rainfall deficits are between 3 and 5 inches and increasing in the western, central and southern portions of the metro area.

Even other parts of Illinois and Indiana that have seen rain recently are experiencing abnormally dry conditions, officials say.

If no rain falls by the end of the month, May 2023 will be the second driest May on record, eclipsed only in May 1992, according to NWS data.

As for relief from drought conditions, there is not much in sight. In fact, no precipitation is forecast for the rest of May, and the dry weather could last until the first week of June.

NWS officials are warning residents to exercise caution with open flames and smoking materials at Memorial Day events.

NBC Chicago

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