Missouri is not alone, with neighboring states starting to feel the scourge of drought. Portions of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois also saw these dry conditions emerge, with a flash drought impacting much of the middle of the U.S.
Historically, a dry May in Missouri doesn’t promise for a good outlook for the rest of the growing season.
“If you have a very dry May, generally the following summers tend to be hotter and drier than normal,” Guinan said. “When you look at the top 15 driest May months on record, only two of the subsequent summers saw precipitation average more than 1 inch above normal.”
The accompanying heat with low humidity also means that evaporation from soils and transpiration from plants accelerates, making the drying out process speed up. This warm weather continues a trend that climatologists have documented for the past year.
“Over the past 12 months there’s only been one month with below normal temperatures, and that was September 2011,” Guinan said. “When you crunch the numbers it’s unprecedented; we haven’t seen a warmer 12-month period, starting last June, since 1895.”
While some rain came through parts of Missouri Monday, significant amounts are needed to replenish water resources above and below the ground. Guinan joins many in hoping more rain will come.
“Hopefully we will see a change and a wetter pattern that sets up soon, because things are going to go downhill very quickly if we don’t.”