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The first day of summer took up right where spring left of, sunny, warm, and dry! In fact, it's so dry that there is a very good chance this June turns out to be the driest on record at the NWS office in Davenport. The least rain recorded there was 2.51 inches in the drought year of 2012. To date, just .38 has fallen in the bucket with none likely until Saturday night at the earliest. That takes them to June 24th with that amount.

That's not the best sample to use however as records there only sample back to 2011. At the Moline Airport where data goes back to 1871, the driest June was .49 inches in 1886. This year the number has already exceeded that with the total at .60 inches.

Dubuque is another area that is in the running for one of its driest Junes. It's lowest June total was .70 inches in the severe drought of 1988.

What's interesting is that in these 3 sample two of the worst drought years in modern history 2012, and 1988 came up as benchmarks. I pointed out in a post more than a month ago those 2 years were analogs to consider when determining what this summer could turn into. Both were dry and hot and chances are good that's where we're headed in 2023.

Now that topsoil moisture is depleted and sub-soil moisture is rapidly declining, weeks like the one we are having take a significant toll. The longest days of the year with relentless sunshine zap the ground and put stress on crops. This graphic from the Iowa Mesonet Tuesday shows the days solar radiation. The solid are of light pink indicates cloud free skies and maxed out solar radiation. The dark purple is where clouds and even rain combined to produce minimal solar radiation.

Wednesday we saw more of the same with strong incoming radiation and highs near 90. There was just enough instability for a few fair weather cumulus to develop for a time during peak heating. They quickly dissipated come evening.

The dryness has also taken a toll on streams, rivers, and ponds. Stream levels are drastically down. Right here in Dubuque I have witnessed the Mississippi go from a crest of 23 ft. around May 1st to todays stage of 5.4 ft. That's a drop of 17.6 ft. in roughly a month and a half. I'm seeing plenty of sand bars and wing dams. That 5.4 level looks to hold rock steady into next week.

With 850 temperatures climbing to 22-23 C Saturday, temperatures will continue to slowly warm Thursday and Friday before reaching the years hottest levels Saturday. A pre-frontal draw of warm air and the negative feedback of the ongoing drought should get highs into the low to mid 90s areawide. If the EURO has its way, some upper 90s could find there way into my southern counties. Here's what the EURO indicates for highs on Saturday.

What's interesting is that with dew points only in the mid 50s, the apparent temperature (how it feels) is 6-7 degrees cooler than the actual readings. We don't see that too often.


That leads us into our next rain chance Saturday night and early Sunday as an upper air disturbance spins across Minnesota. Moisture for rain does make a late day run Saturday but forcing is confined to a cool front which means a short window for rain to occur. The issue I'm seeing for my area is that storm initiation occurs during peak heating and max instability Saturday afternoon over west central Iowa ahead of the cool front. By the time the forcing gets into eastern Iowa Saturday night, instability is decreasing and a lot of low level dry air stands in front of the rain. Some scattered storms are likely in eastern Iowa but they should quickly fizzle and much like last weekend, little rain appears likely from the Mississippi east. Again, mesoscale details which are unknown at this distance will make or break our chances. We're it not for the persistently dry nature of the pattern I would be more inclined to have higher optimism regarding rain chances. I haven't thrown in the towel yet and will hope for stronger signals the next couple of days. Here's what models are currently suggesting for rainfall potential.



Behind this system next weeks starts warm and dry with the focus on a developing heat dome over the south-central U.S. Today's trends show the worst of the heat remaining south of my area in Missouri. If it can reach the southern Iowa border and stall, we could find ourselves in a ring of fire type scenario. Ridge riding disturbances along the edge of the heat dome could hopefully trigger nocturnal convection with MCS complexes that have the potential to produce generous rains. That would be ideal! Where that axis of instability sets up is the key to success. It's not a sure things but it's the best hope we have of breaking out of this contrary pattern.

Hope you enjoyed the first day of summer,. Only 3 months until fall but who's counting. Roll weather...TS




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