Jun 21, 2023 - News

Dry spring causes drought across half of Indiana

Spring precipitation anomalies
Data: NOAA; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Indiana experienced a drier-than-average spring, and there are no signs that the start of summer will provide any relief.

Why it matters: An extended dry spell could worsen and expand drought conditions that are taking hold in the northern half of the state.

State of play: Indiana is about 3 inches behind normal precipitation for this point in the year and dry conditions are already causing challenges for some gardens and farms.

  • The entire state is, at best, abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
  • The northern half of the state is experiencing moderate drought and several counties in the northwest corner are experiencing severe drought conditions.
  • Recent rains in the southern half of the state have provided a bit of relief, though those areas are still drier than normal.

Zoom out: Drought conditions are more severe in other parts of the Midwest and Great Plains.

What's happening: Matthew Eckhoff, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis, said an El Niño weather pattern means winds in central Indiana are coming from Canada — as evidenced by the wildfire smoke bringing intermittent haze over the past several weeks — and pushing precipitation to the south.

  • Dry conditions are forecast for the rest of the month, which could spell trouble as we head into warmer summer temperatures.

Yes, but: Eckhoff said a few good thunderstorms in the coming weeks would be all we need to catch up.

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