Flash drought concerns building as rain stays away

May is typically one of Michiana's wettest months, with an average of 4.2 inches of rain falling every May in South Bend.

This May, the rain has avoided our area for most of the month. With dry weather likely for the rest of the month, South Bend will likely finish May in a 2" rainfall deficit and as the driest May since 2007.

By this time next week, parts of Michiana could be vulnerable to a "flash drought," or a rapid onset of drought conditions. According to NIDIS, a flash drought needs three things to form: sunshine (and by extension little to no rainfall), warmer-than-normal temperatures, and high winds. 

This week, a mid-week cold front will thankfully keep the drought at bay, as highs will sink into the 60s and 70s for a few days. However, by next week, high temperatures should return to the 80s. Coupled with low humidity, this will allow for drought conditions to expand, possibly at a rapid rate. 

Drought can be particularly devastating because it can start a feedback loop, so to speak. If the ground is abnormally dry, the air above that ground will likely be dry as well. This dry "bubble" can zap any humidity or moisture out of passing storms before it falls as rain. 

Both of our long-range forecast models (EURO & GFS) agree that barely any measurable rain will fall across Michiana over the next ten days.

A possible pattern change could arrive in early June but forecast models often can't "see" things like flash drought ahead of time. In other words, possible rain in the long term might not materialize if our dry weather remains undisturbed.

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