The drought has broken, says Morenci climate observer George Isobar, leaving behind brown lawns and some stunted crops, but conditions may vary.
“Precipitation seemed to be spottier than normal last month,” he said. “There were reports of rain falling less than an hour’s drive away that we never got. We had some rain that people less than half an hour away missed.”
All in all, he said, Sunday’s all-day shower was odd enough that it made you wonder what to do with yourself. Almost every other day this summer you went outside where it was sunny.
“I’ve heard that this area is about four inches behind on rainfall for the year,” Isobar said, “but it’s not that bad locally. Over the past 30 years we’ve averaged 15.3 inches from April through July. This year we’ve had 12.6 inches.”
But there’s more to the story than just the amount of rain.
“We went nearly two months with less than two inches,” Isobar said, “and some areas didn’t get that much. Add to that the hot, dry temperature day after day and some unirrigated crops are suffering.”
The National Agricultural Statistics Service noted that in Ohio, the final week of July marked the twelfth consecutive week with more than five days favorable for field work.
That’s the bright side of the dilemma, Isobar said, but a bad trade-off.
A year ago at this time, 72 percent of Michigan’s corn crop was rated “good to excellent.” This year the number was at 26 percent and falling. Only 30 percent of the soybean crop was rated “good to excellent,” down from 69 percent a year ago.
Only Tennessee is rated lower than Michigan in the health of the corn crop. And this in the year of record planting as corn prices rise.
Isobar measured a total of 3.23 inches of rain for July, thanks to the 2.26-inch deluge that fell early in the morning July 27.