Moderate Drought expands across the area

Posted at 1:48 PM, Aug 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-16 13:48:46-04

WEST MICHIGAN — Thanks to the lack of rain lately, the Moderate Drought that plagued parts of Barry and Calhoun counties a week ago has expanded to the north and west. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, most of Newaygo, Oceana, and Muskegon counties are now in a Moderate Drought. Much of Kent County is now in a Moderate Drought as well. These areas are highlighted in the tan color below:

The areas in yellow are considered “Abnormally Dry”. So one can clearly see: most of West Michigan is dealing with a rainfall deficit.

Officially at the National Weather Service Office in Grand Rapids, August rainfall is running 0.50″ below the long term average. The summer of 2018 as a whole is showing an even larger deficit at 3.25″ below average.

Areas of low pressure often bring summer-time showers and thunderstorms, and we do have one of those lows moving through the area. However, the rainfall with this low looks widely scattered. This is what Future Track HD depicts for late this afternoon:

The picture doesn’t look a whole lot brighter for tomorrow, with only widely scattered showers and an outside chance of a thunderstorm:

The North American Model shows around 1/4″ of rain in many parts of the FOX 17 viewing area between now and Friday evening:

To begin with, this amount of rain wouldn’t be a “drought buster” for us. Secondly, it’s quite likely that these forecast rainfall totals are overestimates.

Dry conditions are expected over the weekend with lows in the lower to middle 60s and highs in the middle 80s. There is a good chance of rain, however, early next week. Be sure to keep it tuned to FOX 17 for further updates!