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July brings on the heat

By Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension

Hot and dry conditions have certainly set in across the Buckeye State. Temperatures this past week have averaged 2 degrees to 8 degrees F above average, with most locations stringing together at least five consecutive days above 90 degrees F and more to come. Based on the forecast, Columbus will likely reach 11 days this Friday, the longest stretch of 90-degree weather since July 21-31, 1999!

Along with hot temperatures there has been a lack of widespread rainfall, generally less than 0.25-inch statewide over the last seven days, with only brief heavy downpours for a few lucky folks across Ohio. Not only are we falling short on typical rainfall (~1-inch per week), but hot daytime temperatures have led to intense evaporation rates (0.25-0.30-inch per day). This has caused rapidly drying soils and decreasing stream flows. Abnormally dry conditions (not official drought) are being reported as of Thursday July 2 for about 17 percent of Ohio, with an expansion of these conditions anticipated this week. If you are seeing drought impacts in your area, consider submitting a report to the Drought Impact Reporter. For more information on recent climate conditions and impacts, check out the latest Hydro-Climate Assessment from the State Climate Office of Ohio.

No major weather systems are expected over the next few days across Ohio, but scattered storms with locally heavy rain are possible. Highs will generally top out in the 90s and lows in the upper 60s to low 70s. By Friday, a weak cold front will try to sweep through the state which will likely bring a better chance of widespread showers and storms and slightly cooler temperatures this weekend with highs in the 80s. Overall, we are expecting 0.25 to 0.75-inch (locally heavier) of rain over the next 7 days.

The latest NOAA/NWS/Climate Prediction Center outlook for the 8- to 14-day period (July 14-20) shows elevated probabilities of above average temperatures and below average precipitation. Normal highs during the period should be in the mid-80s, normal lows in the mid-60s, with 0.85- to 1.05-inch of rainfall per week. The 16-Day Rainfall Outlook from NOAA/NWS/Ohio River Forecast Center supports below average precipitation across Ohio as well, especially in northwest Ohio where conditions are already quite dry. The forecast suggests deteriorating pasture conditions, added crop stress, and a lack moisture ahead of pollination and double-crop plantings.

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