The Eric Factor: Here’s how much rain we need to get back to normal

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This morning, new information on the amount of rainfall we need to get us back to normal. Yes, it's dry. In fact, I anticipate much more of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois to go into official drought conditions by Thursday. That's when our next "drought monitor" comes out from the folks at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In the Quad Cities, only 0.68" of rain has come down since the end of July. Go back to when the stretch of dry weather began and we're more than six and a third inches below normal!

A few weeks back, I spoke at the Stephenson Service Company's annual dinner meeting and spoke with Jo Daviess County farmers who said they really could use rain. For many growing hay, these are perfect conditions. But going into the Winter season dry is of concern. Good soil moisture is essentially locked in until the Spring season, which offers more nutrients to remain in the soil. A dry Fall can sometimes linger into the Spring if the ground is frozen and not able to soak up water.

Not only has it been dry, it's also been unusually sunny. We've had 32 days since August 1st with 75-100% sunshine. Six days had 25-75% sunshine and only one day saw more than 75% sunshine in a given day. The lack of rainfall and sunny days is also causing us to have very cool nights while afternoons warm into the 80s.

As far as long-range projections, it does look like it will remain dry straight through the next few weeks. Perhaps, into the month of October.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen