Where’s the Rain? Parts of Michigan Approaching Drought Conditions
It's been a while since we've seen measurable rain in Kalamazoo... nearly a month. The same goes for most of west Michigan, as a high pressure system of dry air has settled in over the northern United States, and places that would normally be seeing spring rain, have been bone dry.
So how dry is it, are we in any risks, and WHEN will we see rain again?
How Dry is west Michigan?
Kalamazoo has only seen about an inch of rain in the past month. Our last measurable rainfall was on May 19th, and that was only 3/10ths of an inch.
Before that, we had about 7/10ths of an inch on May 7th. And obviously, we haven't had any snow since temperatures have been in the 70s or higher for most of the month.
Couple with that an unusual amount of clear skies (Kalamazoo typically sees 43% cloudy days in June), and long hours of sunshine, and it creates a low humidity environment that west Michigan isn't typically used to.
Normally, most of west Michigan would have averaged about 3 inches, or more, of rain in May, leading into June.
And it's not just Kalamazoo. Grand Rapids nearly set a record for lowest rainfall in the month of May at just 0.84 inches, coming in second only to the drought of 1936, which only brought 0.72 inches of rain in May.
When will we get rain again?
As if the dry, hot weather wasn't enough, it looks like we're still going to have to wait for any high possibility of precipitation.
The closest opportunity for rain comes on Sunday, but it's only a 51% chance as I write this now. We've seen forecasts like this in the past few weeks, but as we now know, none of them have come to pass.
The Dangers of No Rain
With no rain, obviously, comes drier conditions. West Michigan has been in a Fire Weather Watch, and Red Flag Warning situation for several days. High winds, coupled with dry conditions make parts of Michigan a literal tinder box ready ripe for wildfires.
Conditions are so bad, that Governor Gretchen Whitmer activated the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate an all-hands-on-deck response for the wildfires in northern Michigan.
Thankfully, temperatures will be cooling off through the next week, and as we pointed out above, it could lead to some rain over the weekend, but western Michigan is so deprived of precipitation right now, it could take more than one day of showers to bounce us back to where we need to be.