Dangerous dry conditions and wildfire risk across much of the four state region.
The drought continues to worsen across southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, southwest Indiana and western Kentucky, as much drier than normal conditions persist.
As of June 22, 2012, at Paducah, the deficit had reached 12.60 inches below the normal of 24.19 inches. Only 11.59 inches of precipitation had accumulated at Barkley Regional Airport so far this year. Conditions were almost identical across the Evansville area. At Evansville Regional Airport, 11.53 inches of precipitation had been observed, which was 11.61 inches below normal.
As we approach the 4th of July holiday, the concern for wildfires will likely increase. No significant rains are expected for the next week or so. While it is still too soon to say if appreciable rain will occur before the 4th of July, it is unlikely any one given event would do much to provide relief. Thankfully, winds are not forecast to be all that strong over the next week or so. The exception day may be Monday behind a front forecast to move south across the region. North / Northeast winds could reach 10 to 20 mph at times.
Burn bans are in effect for many counties and communities across the four state area. More may be put in to effect. In areas not yet under burn bans, the abnormally dry, drought conditions across the region will make it very dangerous to do outdoor burning of any kind. This includes campfires, grilling, burning yard litter, and shooting off fireworks. Even something seemingly as minute as throwing a cigarette out an automobile window, is dangerous.
Continue to monitor the latest forecasts over the next 10 days or so, as we approach the 4th of July holiday weekend.
The two graphics below illustrate precipitation deficit across the region in both April and May of this year.