Monday’s showers were a welcome sight for area farmers.
“We’d like to put the drought behind us,” said Rock Island County farmer Phil Fuhr.
It’s effects, though, appear to be far-reaching, as WQAD meteorologist James Zahara said the rainfall deficit for the area remains at more than 9 inches for the year.
The key to a successful next growing season will be replenishing the moisture in the subsoil. This year’s crops just about tapped it dry during the months of July and August, and failing to saturate the subsoil this winter could have dire consequences.
“If we don’t replenish that water, we’re going in under a drought-like scenario. As we get into the summer when it gets extremely hot, less moisture… we could have back-to-back droughts,” said Fuhr.
The dry ground is also fueling predictions for a slightly warmer than normal winter.
“When you allow the sun to interact with this dry ground, it kind of re-radiates it back into the air, which allows the air to feel warmer. If you have a much wetter ground, then the process is going to be a lot slower,” said Zahara.
But don’t get rid of the snow shovels just yet.
“Are we going to see something very similar to last winter season? My gut is, I really don’t think that’s going to be the case. I think we’ll make it up, get close to average, but right now it’s a little too early to say,” added Zahara.
It’s enough for Fuhr to keep his fingers crossed for a winter full of moisture in any form – even if that means snow and ice.