An expert on droughts says the one that’s settled over Iowa and most of the region isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. Michael Hayes, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center, says a big ridge of high pressure has built up over the central U-S, diverting rain elsewhere. Hayes says Iowa’s long-range forecast calls for hot, dry conditions into October. “Maybe there’s some hope beyond that, but it’s a little bit early to say,” Hayes says. “So, that’s not the best news, certainly. Those are expectations. Those outlooks can change and we certainly hope that’s the case.”
Despite withering crops, brown lawns and shallow waterways across Iowa, Hayes says the drought’s affects are not deep yet, because this is a severe one-year event — at least so far. “If this were to extend into a second year or a third year, then we certainly would have more of those concerns,” Hayes says. While some have made comparisons to the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s, Hayes says this drought is most comparable to the 1988 drought. One unusual note, he says the drought which now grips the entire Corn Belt actually began this past winter.
Hayes says, “What’s been interesting about this drought is we had such warm temperatures over the wintertime and in the early spring that a lot of our soil moisture was already depleted and then that just allowed the temperatures to get pretty extreme across a large part of the central U.S.” The National Drought Mitigation Center is based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The (podcast) forecast for Atlantic and the area, Fri., Aug. 17th 2012, and weather data for Atlantic.
While we’ve seen a few breaks from the hot, dry weather, the worst drought in decades is stressing some of us out and calls to the Iowa Concern Hotline are rising. The service offers information referral, a friendly ear and legal advice, if necessary. Hotline director Margaret VanGinkle says questions lately are about how to handle household finances as prices rise due to the drought. “What happens if we have to pay more for milk and groceries and then the price of gas has gone up, too,” VanGinkle says. “Where am I going to find funds to pay for that when my budget is already pretty tight now?”
Forecasters don’t expect a break from the current weather pattern until October, but some fear the drought could continue well beyond this fall and into next year. Van Ginkle says callers are worried about the potential for a prolonged drought. She says, “If there is a shortage of rural water and they’re being asked to cut back on water with their livestock, how does that effect the operation especially on those really hot days, just a concern that might happen.”
Once known as the Rural Concern Hotline, the service was launched by the Iowa State University extension in 1985 to offer advice to struggling farmers during the Farm Crisis. As the name now implies, VanGinkle says the Iowa Concern Hotline is not exclusive to the agriculture community. The number is 800-447-1985. Phone calls are free and confidential.
339 AM CDT FRI AUG 17 2012
TODAY…SUNNY. HIGH IN THE MID 70S. NORTH WIND NEAR 5 MPH.
TONIGHT…MOSTLY CLEAR. LOW IN THE UPPER 40S. EAST WIND NEAR 5 MPH.
SATURDAY…PARTLY SUNNY WITH A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS. HIGH IN THE MID 70S. TEMPERATURE STEADY OR SLOWLY FALLING IN THE AFTERNOON. SOUTH WIND NEAR 5 MPH SHIFTING TO THE NORTHWEST IN THE AFTERNOON. CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION 40 PERCENT.
SATURDAY NIGHT…PARTLY CLOUDY. LOW IN THE LOWER 50S. NORTH WIND NEAR 5 MPH THROUGH MIDNIGHT BECOMING LIGHT.
SUNDAY…MOSTLY SUNNY. HIGH IN THE UPPER 70S. NORTHWEST WIND NEAR 10 MPH.
SUNDAY NIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY…PARTLY CLOUDY. LOW IN THE UPPER 50S. HIGH IN THE LOWER 80S.
Montgomery County Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Hamman said today his office received some calls this (Thursday) morning with regard to an Outdoor Warning Siren that was activated last night during the Severe Thunderstorm Warning in Red Oak. Hamman says the siren was not activated by the Communications Center and was potentially struck by lightning or received an electrical surge at the pole.
Hamman says the City of Red Oak has contacted the sales rep for the siren and they will be investigating the cause of the activation. The sirens can be activated during Severe Weather if there is an immediate threat to property and life due to strong winds or extremely large hail.
Shelby County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert said today (Thursday), that despite the fact some spotty rain had fallen throughout the County, and while every bit helps, the County will remain in the HIGH Fire Danger category until at least Monday, when the next update will be provided on conditions in the County.
Seivert says on Wednesday, National Weather service forecasters were very close to declaring a Red Flag condition for northeastern Nebraska. Wind and very low relative humidity are two of the several parameters used in determining that classification. Red Flag conditions are the most severe for the spread of fire in any given area. The rarity of these designations, underline how significant they are, when issued, according to Seivert, who says also that the forecast is not encouraging for any sustained rainfall over the next week.
Storms that formed in Nebraska late Wednesday night, moved into parts of western and southwest Iowa early this (Thursday) morning. The first warnings for our listening area were broadcast at around 11:40-p.m., and affected eastern Douglas County in Nebraska, and Western Pottawattamie County in Iowa. About 20-minutes later, additional warnings were issued for northwestern Mills and southwestern Pott. Counties. According to the National Weather Service, half dollar-sized hail fell near Lake Manawa, shortly after midnight.
About 45-minutes later, severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for eastern Mills, southwestern Montgomery, and extreme northwestern Page County. Penny-sized hail was reported to have fallen three-miles west of Pacific Junction at around 12:25-a.m., according to the Weather Service. As the storms in southwest Iowa moved out to the southeast, other storms moved into western and northwest Iowa and tracked east.
Thunderstorm warnings went out for Crawford and Sac Counties at around 1:45-a.m. It wasn’t long afterward that penny-to-quarter sized hail began to fall in Mapleton, which is in Monona County. Less than an hour after the warnings were issued for Crawford and Sac Counties, the Weather Service in Des Moines issued warnings for northeastern Audubon and northern Guthrie Counties. Those same storms moved into Dallas County and points east, bringing half-dollar sized hail to Adel, along with winds of up to 50-miles per hour, at around 3:30-a.m.
There were no immediate reports of damage early this morning.
The Freese-Notis (podcast) forecast for Atlantic & the KJAN listening area, and weather data for Atlantic.
341 AM CDT THU AUG 16 2012
EARLY THIS MORNING…CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS. NORTHWEST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 25 MPH. CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS 50 PERCENT.
TODAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS THROUGH MID MORNING…THEN PARTLY SUNNY IN THE LATE MORNING AND AFTERNOON. BREEZY…COOLER. HIGH IN THE MID 70S. NORTH WIND 10 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 30 MPH. CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS 30 PERCENT.
TONIGHT…MOSTLY CLEAR. COOLER. LOW IN THE MID 40S. NORTH WIND 5 TO 10 MPH. GUSTS UP TO 20 MPH THROUGH MIDNIGHT.
FRIDAY…SUNNY. HIGH IN THE MID 70S. NORTH WIND 5 TO 10 MPH.
FRIDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLEAR. LOW IN THE UPPER 40S. NORTHEAST WIND NEAR 5 MPH SHIFTING TO THE EAST AFTER MIDNIGHT.
SATURDAY...PARTLY SUNNY. HIGH IN THE UPPER 70S. LIGHT WIND BECOMING NORTH UP TO 5 MPH IN THE AFTERNOON.
SATURDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY. LOW IN THE LOWER 50S.
SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY…PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGH 79 TO 84. LOW IN THE UPPER 50S.
310 AM CDT THU AUG 16 2012
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DES MOINES HAS ISSUED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR… DALLAS COUNTY IN CENTRAL IOWA…UNTIL 345 AM CDT
AT 306 AM CDT…NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL…AND DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THESE STORMS WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM 9 MILES WEST OF PERRY TO PANORA TO 6 MILES SOUTH OF PANORA…AND MOVING EAST AT 50 MPH.
LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE… PERRY…DALLAS CENTER…WOODWARD…ADEL…WAUKEE…LINDEN…PERRY AIRPORT…BOUTON…MINBURN AND GRANGER. THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 80 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 119 AND 121.