by Rhonda Brooks,

Is a flash drought underway in the Corn Belt? Or, is what’s underway in farm country just some passing dryness?

Those are questions USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey is evaluating as the month of May comes to a close. He says it’s easy to see why farmers in some parts of the country are concerned.

“It has been dry over much of the Midwest for the last one to three months, depending on the location,” Rippey says.

That four- to 12-week period of dryness fits the classic definition of flash drought provided by the American Meteorological Society. It classifies a flash drought as “an unusually rapid onset drought event characterized by a multi-week period of accelerated intensification that culminates in impacts to one or more sectors, such as agricultural or hydrological impacts.”

Chicago Area Reports The Second-Driest May On Record

Rippey says the area in and around Chicago is exhibiting symptoms of a flash drought. Historical weather data shows Chicago is headed for its second-driest May on record, with a likely 2023 rainfall total of only 0.42 inch, he says.

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